Get your mini-brooms out, because the Miami Marlins are going for the mini-sweep.
The Fish are looking to sweep the mini-series in Atlanta versus the Atlanta Braves, while the Braves try to fight things off with one of the team's best performing starters thus far. The Marlins will throw out one of their own top performers, though his peripherals have been in decline in the last two seasons and the question of whether he will continue this performance is still very much in the air. In the middle of all of this is one offense in the Braves' that has been one of the best in baseball versus an offense in the Marlins' that has been one of the hottest in the league.
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The Marlins have been happy with Ricky Nolasco thus far this season, in part because he is finally posting a sub-4.00 ERA. Unfortunately, Nolasco's peripherals still have not caught up to his ERA, as his strikeout rate is at the lowest of his career and his walk rate is at its highest since 2007. He has allowed fewer home runs this year, in part because of his 49 percent ground ball rate, but it should be interesting to see if he can keep it up. Personally, I think this may all end very soon, and in his last start against the New York Mets, that started to happen, as he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
Brandon Beachy has also lost a lot of his peripherals mojo from last season. His strikeout rate has fallen from 28 percent in 2011 to 18 percent this year in 2012. He has held hitters down with a combination of being stingy on home runs (just one allowed in 45 innings pitched) and allowing a .219 BABIP thus far. Like Nolasco, there is a very good chance he is likely to see some regression, as his 4.01 xFIP and 4.02 SIERA suggests.
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- We saw and the Marlins conquered Mike Minor last night. Over at Talking Chop, gondeee writes that perhaps Mike Minor has the same issue we suspect Nolasco has, a problem with pitching out of the stretch.
Bold Prediction: Braves def. Marlins 5-3