The first half of the season will come to a close with a series between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves beginning on Friday.
The Marlins have struggled against the Braves all season long and Miami has yet to win a game in Atlanta in 2019. Miami is 1-8 against Atlanta, with that lone win coming at Marlins Park in April. The Braves are currently leading the National League East, while the Marlins remain in last place in the division.
Following a solid stretch of wins, Miami has run into trouble recently. As the All-Star Game approaches, the Marlins have lost four games in a row. With losses in seven of their last nine games, the Marlins have fallen to 32-53 overall on the season.
Jordan Yamamoto has yet to lose in the big leagues, but his performance has dropped off a bit. Yamamoto's next start will come on Friday and he will bring a 3-0 record into the game. Yamamoto only lasted four innings his last time out and he has walked four in each of his last two appearances. The 23-year old has a 2.35 E.R.A. through four major league outings.
Caleb Smith will return from the injured list and start Saturday's game for the Marlins. Smith was Miami's ace for much of the season, but he has been out of action since early June. The lefty is 3-4 with a 3.4.1 E.R.A. and he has struck out 82 hitters in 62 innings pitched. Smith appeared to be on his way to the All-Star Game prior to his injury, but that honor has since gone to Sandy Alcantara instead.
Trevor Richards will be Miami's starter in the final game of the first half on Sunday. Richards is 3-9 with a 4.02 E.R.A. and he has been inefficient over the past month. The right-hander has only lasted five innings in three of his last four starts and his E.R.A. has been on the rise as well. The 26-year old allowed an opposing batting average of .256 in June, which was his highest mark of the 2019 season.
Miguel Rojas will bring a seven-game hitting streak into the series and he has lifted his average on the season to .296. Rojas also hit a home run on Thursday for the first time this season. The 30-year old showed more power in 2018, but he has been Miami's most consistent bat all season long in terms of average. Rojas also provides the Marlins with dependable defense on a daily basis.
The final series of the first half will begin on Friday at 7:20 p.m.