Braves' Soroka looks to continue success vs. Marlins

Field Level Media

Atlanta Braves rookie right-hander Mike Soroka, who ranks third among National League starters in ERA, will face the host Miami Marlins on Saturday night.

The Braves, who lead the National League East, beat the Marlins 8-4 on Friday night. However, the Marlins, who have the worst record in the NL, won the series opener on Thursday.

Atlanta is 11-3 against Miami this season, including 7-1 at Marlins Park.

Soroka (10-2, 2.45 ERA) trails Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals in the ERA race.

"Who cares about Rookie of the Year? I think (Soroka) is right in it for Cy Young," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman told The Athletic. "He's pretty special."

In two starts against the Marlins this year, Soroka is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA. Both of those outings were at Marlins Park. In fact, Soroka has been better on the road (6-0, 1.45 ERA) than at home (4-2, 4.08 ERA) this season.

He has also dominated right-handed batters this season, holding them to a .200 batting average, two homers and a .525 OPS. Lefty swingers are batting .276 with five homers and a .698 OPS against him.

Also of note with Soroka has been his win pace. He notched his ninth win on June 28. Since then, however, he is just 1-1 with four no-decisions. In two of those no-decisions, he failed to finish the fifth inning.

Matching up against Soroka on Saturday will be right-hander Sandy Alcantara (4-10, 4.50 ERA), who represented the Marlins at the All-Star Game this year.

"Sandy has tremendous stuff," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Alcantara, whose fastball reaches 100 mph. "He has a chance to be special."

However, Alcantara -- who at 23 is one year older than Soroka -- has struggled of late. After compiling a 3.82 ERA in the first half of the season, Alcantara owns a 7.09 ERA in his five starts since then.

He is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in his one start against Atlanta this season. At home, he is just 2-7 with 4.68 ERA.

Alcantara, who hasn't won a game since beating the Philadelphia Phillies on June 21, is 0-4 with three no-decisions in his past seven starts.

"Job One" for Alcantara on Saturday -- assuming the lineup remains the same -- will be to try to limit the damage done by the top of Atlanta's batting order.

On Friday night, leadoff batter Ronald Acuna Jr. went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, including a pair of two-run homers.

Acuna has 32 homers this season. He has homered in four straight games and has gone deep seven times in his past eight contests.

In 32 career games against the Marlins, Acuna has 14 homers and 32 RBIs. He doesn't have more than six homers or 17 RBIs against any other opponent.

Braves two-hole hitter Ozzie Albies went 4-for-5 with one RBI on Friday for his third four-hit game in the past four games. He hit his 18th homer of the season, his 30th double, and he fell a triple short of the cycle.

Miami's hottest hitter is Starlin Castro, who went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBIs on Friday. Castro also homered and drove in three runs against Atlanta on Thursday.

--Field Level Media

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