MLB Picks 2012: Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins

The Atlanta Braves (52-43) and Miami Marlins (44-51) will open up a three-game National League East series on Monday night at Marlins Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET

Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins SP Johnson has suffered a loss in his last two starts

Atlanta had to settle with a split of its four-game series with the Washington Nationals over the weekend, losing the final two contests, including a 9-2 setback on Sunday afternoon.  “Like I said a week or 10 days ago, we’ve struggled with our consistency,” commented Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.  The Braves have done their best work away from Turner Field, posting a 28-19 road record, which could improve due to winning 10 of 12 in South Beach.  Atlanta is 4-1 in its last five games as a road underdog.

Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (5-6, 5.69 ERA) has pitched well in two July starts, as he didn’t factor into the decision of a 9-4 setback at home to the San Francisco Giants last time out.  The left-hander is 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA in nine road outings, serving up 15 home runs in 50 combined frames.  In five career outings versus the Marlins, Minor has tallied a 1-1 record and 6.48 ERA, with opposing hitters batting .302 against him.

Miami will look to snap a five-game losing streak in the series opener, suffering a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the road Sunday, as the clubhouse is looking for any type of spark to save its season.  “I don’t know what to say anymore, to be honest,” commented Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.  The Marlins are not getting it done in crucial situations at the plate, batting .091 with runners in scoring position over the course of their streak.  Miami is 5-1 in its last six games against southpaw starters.

Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson (5-7, 4.35 ERA) has dropped back-to-back decisions, allowing nine runs and 16 hits over 11.2 innings of work in that span.  The right-hander is also looking for some support offensively, with the lineup providing him just a single run in each of his last two efforts.  In 17 career games (16 starts) versus the Braves, Johnson has garnered a 5-4 record and 2.29 ERA, but suffered a 2-1 loss at this ballpark on June 6.

Sports bettors will likely back the Marlins due to their 37-16 record in Johnson’s last 53 home starts, while the Braves are 2-5 in Minor’s last seven outings versus divisional foes.

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