Series Preview: Braves at Marlins

Miami will open a seven-game homestand with a game against the Braves on Thursday

The Miami Marlins will host the Atlanta Braves for the first of four games at Marlins Park on Thursday.

Miami has lost six games in a row and is 2-10 on the season against Atlanta. The Braves meanwhile are in first place in the division with a 68-48 record. Atlanta has won two games in a row and has a superb record on the road in 2019 at 36-23. Atlanta leads all of Major League Baseball with those 36 road wins.

Elieser Hernandez will start for the Marlins in Thursday's series opener and will bring a 5.66 E.R.A into the outing. Hernandez has struggled since returning to the starting rotation and has allowed five home runs in his last 9.2 innings of work. The right-hander faced the Braves as a reliever earlier this season and hurled a scoreless inning.

Caleb Smith will bring a 3.35 E.R.A and a 7-5 record into Friday's start. Smith took a loss in his last outing, but he kept the Marlins in the game. Miami has won five of the last six times Smith has pitched. The 28-year old would lead the Marlins in E.R.A, if he had enough innings to qualify. Smith has 123 strikeouts this year, which also leads Miami's pitching staff.

All-Star Sandy Alcantara will get the starting assignment for Saturday's game. Alcantara allowed two runs in four innings against the Braves earlier this season. The right-hander owns a 4.50 E.R.A. and a 4-10 record overall in 2019. Alcantara has a 7.09 E.R.A following the All-Star Game and he has allowed 16 home runs thus far this season.

Hector Noesi will get another turn in the rotation for Sunday's game. Noesi was tagged for five runs in five innings against the New York Mets in his season debut. The 32-year old pitched well in AAA for New Orleans and is back in the majors for the first time since 2015. With Miami's young staff approaching potential inning limits, Noesi could continue to see work the rest of the season.

Miami lost Miguel Rojas earlier this week with a hamstring injury and it may have trouble replacing him in the lineup. Rojas leads Miami with his .289 average and he also offered manager Don Mattingly some flexibility in the field. Without Rojas available, Miami could rotate a few different players in and out of the daily lineup. Jon Berti is one player who may see an increase in playing time.

Thursday's game will get underway at 7:10 p.m.

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