When the Braves last saw the Marlins, they had just toppled the mighty Twins on their way to a series victory against one of baseball’s best teams. Instead of the momentum carrying over after the Minnesota series, the Braves wound up struggling and splitting the four-game set against last-place Miami, whom they had handled with ease for much of the year.
Two weeks later, coming off an important series win against the Dodgers, the narrative is similar as they roll into a mid-week series with the Marlins - and the Braves will try to close out the final three games of their nine-game homestand with a bang.
Much like the first game of the aforementioned four-game split with Miami, Dallas Keuchel will face Elieser Hernandez. Keuchel, the former Cy Young winner, surrendered eight runs over 3 ⅔ innings during that outing against the Fish, and watched as the usually unreliable Hernandez threw the best start of his career - striking out seven over six scoreless innings against a Braves offense that has been known for its prowess. Baseball!
Keuchel has since rebounded, throwing six scoreless against the Mets last Wednesday - his first scoreless outing since signing with the Braves in June. DK comes into this one sporting a 3-5 record, alongside a 4.39 ERA | 4.97 FIP, and he will come into this game looking for some retribution.
After his triumph against the Braves, Hernandez allowed six runs in six innings in his most recent start against the Dodgers - including four home runs. So even after that stellar outing against Atlanta, Hernandez’s 2-5 record and accompanying 5.40 ERA | 6.22 FIP paint the picture of a hurler who has not been able to consistently deliver for the Marlins. With any luck, we’ll see the version of Hernandez that pitches closer to his overall career performance, rather than the version that pitched like Nolan Ryan last time out.
Though it has hardly been over a week since these two teams last saw each other, the Braves’ roster has seen its share of turnover since. Jeremy Walker, who saved the Braves’ bullpen after Keuchel’s implosion on the 8th, is now back in AAA, and after last week’s addition of Rafael Ortega and Adeiny Hechavarria, the recently added Billy Hamilton may have a chance to make his Braves debut tonight. He is expected to be utilized as a pinch runner and late-inning defensive replacement, so we will likely not see him until the game’s final frames.
It will be interesting to see how Ronald Acuña, Jr. responds to Sunday’s benching incident. Unlike Hamilton, Acuña, Jr. is likely to be seen back in his familiar lead-off spot - so we will not have to wait long to see if there is any lasting impact to the discipline.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 7:20 PM EST
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network