The Miami Marlins will make their first visit to the new home of the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
The Braves now play at SunTrust Park, after a relatively short stay at Turner Field. Even though the season is nearly half over, Miami has yet to spend time in Atlanta this season. In five games at Marlins Park, the Braves hold a 3-2 record thus far in 2017.
As the series opens, Miami finds itself a half-game ahead of Atlanta. Despite the similar record, the Marlins are playing better ball as of late. The Marlins have been one of the hottest teams in all of baseball for the past month and have improved their record to 29-35.
Miami is expected to get a big boost in the series, with Justin Bour set to return from the disabled list. The slugger has been on the shelf, with an ankle injury. While Tyler Moore filled in admirably, the Marlins could use Bour's bat back in the middle of the lineup. Prior to landing on the DL, Bour was Miami's biggest power threat.
Marcell Ozuna has continued his All-Star caliber season and having Bour around him in the lineup should only help more. Ozuna has been Miami's most consistent hitter, as well as a big source of power for the team. In addition to his offensive prowess, Ozuna has flashed his usual solid defense in the outfield.
In the series opening game, Dan Straily will start for the Marlins. When 2017 began, Straily was seen as a possible ace for the team. With a 3.89 record, Straily has been serviceable and has had several key starts. While Straily may not have ace-like numbers, he has gone six or more innings multiple times. Straily also leads the pitching staff with 72 strikeouts.
Jeff Locke will toe the rubber in the second game of the series and will bring an 0-2 record with him. Locke has not made it out of the sixth inning yet in his three starts, but he has been decent in two of those appearances. Locke will need to try and be a little more efficient with his pitches in this one, after walking five in the last two starts combined.
In the series finale on Sunday, the Marlins will turn to Jose Urena. The right-hander has been a pleasant surprise for the team with his 5-2 record, to go along with a 3.70 E.R.A. Urena has now gone a month without a loss and has allowed four runs in his last 11 innings of work.
Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.