The Braves enter their Friday tilt against the Marlins fresh off a convincing three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, having dismantled scored 20 runs in the series. The club hopes to carry that offensive firepower into this weekend against the Marlins, who were swept at home by the Mets earlier this week. Tonight’s pitching matchup between the two division foes features Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez opposing Braves right-hander Kevin Gausman.
The Braves will get their first glimpse of Gausman, who makes his debut after shoulder discomfort slowed his progress in Spring Training. The right-hander has overcome those issues and will now look to build on his success late last season. Gausman went 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA, 3.78 FIP, and 44 strikeouts in 59 2⁄3 innings for Atlanta after being dealt from Baltimore at the Trade Deadline.
Pablo Lopez enters Friday having won his only start, though he did so while allowing three earned runs over 5 1⁄3 innings against the Rockies. Lopez struck out seven in that contest, which is notable as he has shown an improved ability to miss bats in his ascension through the minor leagues. The 23-year-old right-hander averaged 9.5 K/9 last season in three stops, including a stint with the big club.
Notable offensive contributors thus far for Atlanta include Ozzie Albies (.478/.556/.696), Freddie Freeman (.400/.571/.550), and Dansby Swanson (.353/.478/.696). For Miami, Starlin Castro (.321/.345/.536) and Martin Prado (.500/.529/.625) have led the offensive attack to this point.
For the Braves, coming off a series that saw them score 23 runs, this matchup represents an opportunity to continue their hot-hitting ways against an inferior opponent. The Marlins have pitchers with strikeout potential, but the Braves lineup has been lethal from top-to-bottom and is certainly capable of carrying that momentum into the weekend. For the Marlins, this series pits them against yet another quality opponent as they look to develop a young roster.
Game Date/Time: Friday, April 5, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network