The NL East rivals renew their respective quests when they open a three-game series at Pro Player Stadium.
Florida is in fourth place in the NL wild-card race, 3 1/2 games behind San Francisco after a much-needed 4-3 victory over the Expos on Thursday night, the team’s 25th comeback victory of the season.
“This is a big win, especially with everybody ahead of us winning,” Florida catcher Paul Lo Duca said. “We have 18 games left, and we put ourselves in position where we’ll probably have to win 14 or 15 of them. We know what’s ahead of us. We scrapped and clawed tonight. That’s the way we’re going to have to do it.”
Thanks to the brutal weather in Florida this past month, the Marlins are closing out their season with 30 games over the final 27 days. Included in the stretch was a doubleheader loss against the Expos on Wednesday. Florida will also play two games against the Cubs on Monday.
Making matters worse, the Marlins have hit just .239 against the Braves this season, and have a 5.35 ERA against them. Florida has also lost more games (nine) against Atlanta than other opponent this year.
The Braves’ magic number for clinching the NL East remained at 10 after they ended a five-game series at New York with a 9-4 loss on Thursday.
The resurgent Paul Byrd looks to get them closer to that mark when he faces the Marlins in the opener.
Byrd, who missed all of last season and the first 2 1/2 months of this season, is just 2-4 with a 5.21 ERA in 11 career games—seven starts—against the Marlins in his career.