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Series Preview: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves

The Marlins travel to Atlanta for the first time this season. We break down the series, plus five questions with Talking Chop Head Demetrius Bell.

Are we better yet?
Are we better yet?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After straight up smoking the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday 9-1 and taking the Citrus Series three games to four, the Marlins move on to Turner Field for three, where they'll face the Atlanta Braves. You may recall that the Braves utterly embarrassed the Marlins in Miami earlier this year when they swept them in three despite being winless coming into the match-up. One would think that series is on the minds of many a Marlin as they enter into battle once again with their implaccable NL East foe.

Opponent snapshot

Atlanta Braves


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The Braves have struggled in every way imaginable and are indeed the terrible team we thought they would be from the start. After a 5-18 April, they've gone 7-16 in May, having just been swept by the Milwaukee Brewers (also not a good team).

Unfortunately for the Marlins, none of that seemed to matter the last time they faced as the Fish generously donated the Braves their first win, first series win and first sweep of the season (their only one to date), respectively.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Marlins have to take advantage of these meetings with the Braves if they want to remain in contention this season. Given the results of the previous encounter, the Braves current condition and the Marlins solid performance on the road thus far (13-9), Fish fans should hope for nothing less than a sweep.

Hot Braves Hitters (last seven days)

Chase d'Arnaud - .417/.533/.500

Jeff Francoeur - .333/.400/.536*

Daniel Castro - .400/.400/.400**

* I had to ignore the ten PA threshold just to get a couple more "hot" Braves hitters. Francoeur checks in with nine PA in the last seven days.

** Castro has five PA in the last seven days.

Cold Bravcs Hitters (last seven days, minimum ten PA)

Freddie Freeman - .185/.214/.407

Kelly Johnson - .133/.188/.133

Nick Markakis - .050/.208/.200

Probable Pitching Match-ups
  • Friday May 27th 7:35 pm ET: Adam Conley vs. Williams Perez
  • Saturday May 28th 4:10 pm ET: Wei-Yin Chen vs. Aaron Blair
  • Sunday May 29th 5:05 pm ET: Tom Koehler vs. Julio Teheran
Old Friends
  • Former Marlins: Jason Grilli ('00-'01), Reid Brignac ('15)
  • Former Braves: Martin Prado ('06-'12), Chris Johnson ('13-'15)
View From The Opposite Side

Demetrius Bell from fellow SB Nation blog Talking Chop answered five questions for us, here are his responses!

Are the Braves meeting, beating, or defeating your expectations for them heading into the season?

Demetrius: In the grand scheme of things, they're meeting expectations. They're dead-last in the NL East and look exactly like a team that's going to be receiving the #1 pick in next year's draft -- assuming the Twins get their act together and start playing decent baseball. As far as the actual baseball is concerned, most of the team has actually been under-performing. Freddie Freeman started the season in a major slump, broke out of it for a couple of weeks, and is now right back in another slump. Erick Aybar might be the worst "everyday" player in baseball right now. Rookie Mallex Smith was a notoriously light hitter in the minors, and yet he's currently second place on the team in homers with three. The pitching staff has actually been decent for the past month, but the offense has been utterly atrocious this season, and it's a big reason why the team is currently where they're at right now. It's been a rough two months, man.

The Braves three game sweep of the Marlins back in April has proven to be the (on field) lowlight of Miami's season. Was that, conversely, the highlight for the Braves? If not, what has been the highlight of a tough season so far?

Demetrius: First off, I'm sorry that you had to sit through that. You should receive a written apology from the team in the newspaper if your local major league team gets swept by the Braves. And yes, that was probably the highlight of the season so far because they also went on to win another game the next day against the Dodgers. They'd won a whopping four straight games at that point to make it to 4-9, and there was a tiny bit of hope that they could level things out a bit and not look like a completely listless team. A month later, they're 9-29 and the manager is fired. So again, that sweep in Miami was definitely the high point of the season, and it's been a long way down from that zenith.

Give us a Braves player that has been important to the team this season that may be flying under the radar for non-Braves fans.

Demetrius: During the Dodgers series, I had a fan from the opposing team ask me on Twitter "Who is Matt Wisler, and why is he good?" Wisler's definitely been one of the bright spots of the rotation this season. He worked with Tom Glavine during the offseason, and although it was reported that they were just working on his changeup, they had to have been working on other things as well because he's been showing flashes of being a pretty solid starter at this level. This season is all about figuring out who's could possibly stay with the team for the long haul, and Wisler is one of those guys who the Braves could use in their rotation for the future.

It's no secret that the Braves are sellers. Who else is on the chopping block and what kind of return can the Braves expect to receive for them?

Demetrius: After what the front office did this past offseason, I'm convinced that any veteran not named Freddie Freeman is up for sale. We've heard rumors that teams are interested in Nick Markakis, Julio Teheran's name has popped up in trade rumors as well, and recently Arodys Vizcaino was the latest name that came up. Now, they're probably not actively shopping these guys, but they're definitely open for business and I think that they could possibly pick up a pretty big haul for Vizcaino if a contender needs bullpen help at the deadline. Personally, I'd keep Vizcaino around for a bit longer, but I also understand that closers/high-leverage relievers will net you some nice assets in this market, so I'd definitely understand if the Braves potentially sent him away in a trade.

Steal a Marlin: If you could take one player, coach, or member of the Marlins organization, who would you take and why?

Demetrius: For sentimental reasons, I'd love for the Braves to bring Martin Prado back into the fold because he was beloved when he was here and it only makes sense because the Braves have a weird habit of bringing back players from their past. With that being said, as much as I love sentimentality, I love dingers more, so the one player I'd want to take would be the obvious choice of Giancarlo Stanton. I could do with seeing a near-500-foot homer every now and then, and seeing him do it in a Braves uniform would be lovely. Such are pipe dreams, though.

Thanks again to Demetrius for answering our questions, and be sure to check out Talking Chop for excellent Atlanta Braves content.

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