After a huge three-game sweep of the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves will head into the final series of the regular season against the Miami Marlins needing just one win to clinch a fifth-straight division title. The Braves entered this weekend’s series with little margin for error, but made a statement defeating New York’s top three pitchers in Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt to take a two-game lead in the NL East standings with just three games remaining. The Braves also won the season series with New York and the tiebreaker advantage that comes along with it.
The Marlins are playing out the string and enter the final series with a 67-92 record. They have already announced that the club and manager Don Mattingly have agreed to part ways at the end of the season. They do come into the game playing well having just taken three of four from the Brewers to all but dash their postseason hopes. The Braves won’t have to contend with Cy Young favorite Sandy Alcantara as the Marlins already announced that his season is over.
Monday, October 3, 6:40 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)
Bryce Elder (9 G, 8 GS, 49.0 IP, 20.5 K%, 10.7 BB%, 2.76 ERA, 3.73 FIP)
Bryce Elder will stick in the rotation and get the start in Monday’s series opener in Miami. Elder has made quite an impression during the second half of the season and has pitched well since taking over Spencer Strider’s rotation spot while he is on the injured list. Elder tossed the first complete game shutout of the season for the Braves in his last start in Washington allowing six hits and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. Elder has faced the Marlins three times this season and has allowed three runs in 17 2/3 innings.
Jesus Luzardo (17 GS, 94.1 IP, 28.6 K%, 9.0 BB%, 3.53 ERA, 3.35 FIP)
Jesus Luzardo will make his final start for Miami in Monday’s opener against Atlanta. Luzardo has pitched well since returning from the injured list on August 1. He allowed four hits, two walks and two runs in six innings in his last outing against the Mets. Luzardo faced the Braves back on August 13 and allowed seven hits and four runs in five innings.
Tuesday, October 4, 6:40 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)
The Braves haven’t announced their starter for Tuesday and Brian Snitker said Sunday that it would depend on how they get there. This would be Jake Odorizzi’s spot in the rotation, but given his recent struggles and the fact that they didn’t announce him, there is reason to think that they might go a different route. Their options are limited though. Kyle Muller was optioned back to Gwinnett and can’t return to the majors unless there is an injury. The other option would likely be some sort of bullpen game of which Odorizzi could be a part of.
Braxton Garrett (16 GS, 83.1 IP, 23.8 K%, 5.4 BB%, 3.56 ERA, 3.57 FIP)
Left-hander Braxton Garrett will get the call for the Marlins Saturday. Garrett is another young promising arm for Miami who has pitched well in the second half of the season. Coming into Saturday, Garrett has allowed three runs or less in six straight outings. He allowed six hits and two runs in four innings in his last outing in Milwaukee. The Braves faced him back on August 14 where he allowed five hits and three walks but held them scoreless for six innings.
Wednesday, October 5, 4:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)
Max Fried is lined up to start Wednesday’s game on regular rest if needed. if he isn’t needed, then the Braves could call up a pitcher that is on the 40-man roster like Alan Rangel or Freddy Tarnok or just go with another bullpen game.
Sandy Alcantara was scheduled to start Sunday’s game, but the Marlins opted to shut him down after his last start. They haven’t announced yet who will start in his place.