Taking the mound for the Braves is Max Fried who has performed like an ace for Atlanta in 2020 which was nice because they absolutely needed him to be just that once rotation arms started dropping like flies. Fried would actually be a strong Cy Young candidate if not for some minor injuries costing him some innings towards the end of the season...and he is still likely to get some love from voters for the award. During the regular season, Fried posted a 2.25 ERA and 3.10 FIP on his way to 1.5 fWAR in this shortened season. He was also dominant against the Reds in his first postseason start of 2020 with seven innings of shutout ball in the Braves’ extra inning marathon win in game one of that series.
For the Marlins, a slightly less familiar face takes the mound as Sandy Alcantara gets the start for the Marlins. Sandy has been quite good for Miami this season with a 3.00 ERA while striking out 39 batters in 42 innings this year and he gave up just one run while pitching into the seventh against the Cubs in the previous playoff round. The Braves haven’t seen him this year, but he has pitched them tough in the past with Atlanta posting a .176/.282/.206 line against him in three games.
For the Braves, it comes down to whether the offense shows up. If Ronald Acuna Jr. and his ailing wrist is in good shape and the rest of the offense puts up tough at-bats and can start producing, the Braves can feasibly get to the Marlins bullpen earlier and their relief corps ranks among the worst in baseball this year. If the game is close late, one also has to like the Braves’ chances as their bullpen, contrary to the Marlins, is among the best units in MLB this year and just got plenty of rest.
Look, stating the obvious here...but the Braves should be and are heavily favored both in this game and in the series overall. The Braves seemingly have the better team on paper and they have given Miami a tough time of late winning four of the past five games against them. However, none of those things matters a ton now as the playoffs are an entirely different animal and we have seen this roster struggle offensively in the playoffs over the last few years. Miami has the pitching to give Atlanta trouble, so hopefully the Braves’ opening round win over the Reds has gotten the playoff monkey off of their backs and the offense can start playing like they did for long stretches of the 2020 season.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, 10/6/20, 2:08 EST
Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network