Marlins-Braves Preview


Enjoying their longest winning streak in 13 seasons, the Atlanta Braves are running away with the NL East.

Facing the last-place Miami Marlins isn't likely to slow them down.

The Braves go for a 14th consecutive victory Friday night when they open a three-game set against the visiting Marlins.

Atlanta (70-45) has hit .298, including .325 with runners in scoring position, while outscoring opponents 77-31 during its longest run since posting 15 consecutive victories April 16-May 2, 2000.

"It's been fun," Justin Upton, batting .440 with five homers and 13 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak, told MLB's official website. "Anytime you can win as many ballgames as we have, team morale is good and things are going well for us. So it's definitely fun to be a part of."

Upton stayed hot Wednesday, going 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs in a 6-3 win at Washington. B.J. Upton also came up big with four hits for the Braves, who moved 15 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Nationals.

"This was a big series," first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "We pushed the lead to three more games up on them. We came in here and we let them know we're here to stay."

The Braves now turn their attention to the Marlins (43-70), whom they have beaten 35 times in the past 48 meetings. Atlanta owns a 6-3 edge in the series this year.

The Braves give Brandon Beachy (0-0, 9.00 ERA) his third start since coming back from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander was tagged for a career-high seven runs in 3 2-3 innings against Colorado in his season debut July 29 before yielding four runs in 6 1-3 innings Saturday in a 5-4, 12-inning win at Philadelphia.

"The thing with Tommy John is you do all the rehab and you do all that stuff," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But in the back of your mind, you're wondering if it's going to hold up. But that just takes some time. I think you're going to see him get better and better."

Beachy has been at his best in his last four starts against the Marlins, going 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA. In his last matchup, he allowed five hits and pitched his only career complete game in a 7-0 win May 17, 2012.

Logan Morrison and Greg Dobbs are both 1 for 11 against Beachy, while Giancarlo Stanton is 4 for 12 with three doubles.

The Marlins counter with Jacob Turner (3-3, 2.68), who is looking to snap a four-start winless stretch. The right-hander surrendered two runs in six innings but didn't factor in the decision of Saturday's 4-3 loss to Cleveland.

Turner allowed two runs in seven innings in a 6-2 victory over Atlanta on July 10, improving to 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Braves.

Miami saw its losing streak reach five with Thursday's 5-4, 10-inning defeat at Pittsburgh. Rookie Christian Yelich went 3 for 4 with his first homer and drove in two runs.

"It was nice to get that first one, but it would have felt a little better if we could have come up with a W," Yelich said.

Miami hasn't dropped six straight since a season-worst nine-game skid May 21-30.

Stanton, mired in a 4-for-34 slump, is 4 for 28 with no homers and two RBIs against the Braves this year.