The teams at opposite ends of the National League East standings will clash for a three-game series beginning Monday, as the division-leading Atlanta Braves hope to go into Miami and beat up on the last-place Marlins. The Braves have taken four of six meetings this season, but they dropped two of three in Miami last week. Atlanta has lost four of five overall and its lead has dwindled to four games over Washington and 7 1/2 over Philadelphia.
The Marlins dropped a season-high 28 games below .500 at 16-44 on June 5, but they've gone 16-11 since then and had won 10 of 13 before getting swept in a three-game series at St. Louis over the weekend. Miami will give Kevin Slowey another crack at the rotation, filling the void left when it traded fellow right-hander Ricky Nolasco to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Slowey will start opposite left-hander Mike Minor, who lost to the Marlins in his last start.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Atlanta), Fox Sports Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves LH Mike Minor (8-4, 3.15 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Kevin Slowey (3-6, 4.24)
The Braves won eight straight games started by Minor in May and June, but they've lost his last three outings and the left-hander has been tagged with the decision in two of them. He has allowed four or more runs in three of his last four outings, including one against the Marlins last time out in which he gave up four runs over six innings and took the loss. Minor is 2-3 with a 4.56 ERA in nine starts against Miami.
Slowey was solid out of the bullpen with a 2-0 record and 2.77 ERA in four appearances, but his one bad relief outing came against the Braves, when he allowed four runs in two innings on Tuesday. The veteran right-hander was solid in April and threw seven scoreless innings in his first outing in May, but he has not made it through the sixth in any of his last six starts and has allowed four or more runs in five of them.
1. Braves C Brian McCann is 19-for-32 during his eight-game hitting streak. McCann is 2-for-7 with a double against Slowey and he is a career .281 hitter against the Marlins.
2. Marlins SS Adeiny Hechavarria is 11-for-26 during a season-high seven-game hitting streak. Hechavarria is 1-for-5 with a double and two strikeouts against Minor.
3. Miami recalled RHP Chris Hatcher to replace Nolasco on the roster. Hatcher made the Pacific Coast League All-Star team as the closer for Triple-A New Orleans, where he converted 24 of 25 save chances.
PREDICTION: Braves 7, Marlins 4