Sunday MLB Preview – Braves at Marlins

Bettors must acknowledge some interesting series stats between these two clubs for Sunday’s finale.

Atlanta Braves at Florida Marlins

Atlanta used an eight-run eighth inning to capture a 10-5 win over Florida at Sun Life Stadium on Friday night.  “I can’t explain this ballgame,” manager Bobby Cox said.  “It’s hard enough to explain Friday night.  It’s baseball.”  The Braves are now 5-3 against the Marlins this season and moved their record to 18-16 against divisional opponents (-100).  The total is 11-20 O/U in their games against the NL East in 2010 and 76-93 O/U the last three years.  With today’s game being a rubber match, it’s important to note that the club is 16-1-4 in its last 21 series dating back to May 10.  Rookie outfielder Jason Heyward continues to lead the chase for NL Rookie of the Year, hitting .387 since being made active from the disabled list on July 15.  He went 3-for-3 with two walks and two runs last night.  Atlanta has averaged 5.7 runs per game and hit for a .277 combined average in compiling an impressive 20-12 daytime record (+760).

Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens is an even 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA in nine starts this season (+260) and has led the club to four straight victories.  Over that span, he has allowed six earned runs and 19 hits in 24.2 innings of work.  The right-hander has made three July starts, posting a perfect 2-0 record and 2.29 ERA, allowing opponents to hit for a combined .191 average.  Jurrjens will be making his fifth daytime start, going 0-3 with a 8.05 ERA in comparison to a perfect 3-0 mark and 1.82 ERA in five nighttime outings.  In six career starts versus the Marlins, he brings a 3-1 record and 4.37 ERA, including an even 1-1 mark and 2.84 ERA in three outings at Florida.

Florida missed out on a chance to move above .500 for the first time since June 3, but the club has still won eight of its last 12 games.  “It just so happens they stole one from us,” said second baseman Dan Uggla.  Even though the Braves have dominated series play since May 10, it’s important to note that the winner of the first game in a three-game series between these two clubs has won 22 of 27 total series in South Florida.  The odds are slightly better after taking the first game in Atlanta, as the game one winner has taken the series 23 of 27 times.  The Marlins are 15-12 in day games this season (+400) and has held opponents to an average of just 3.3 runs per game and a combined .244 average.  Florida is 6-3 when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season (+420) and 52-41 in this spot the last three years (+2,420).

Marlins starting pitcher Chris Volstad is 4-8 with a 4.78 ERA in 17 starts this season (-880), with the club losing 11 of his last 12 outings.  The right-hander last picked up a victory on June 13 against the Tampa Bay Rays and has given up 15 runs and 25 hits in 19.2 frames since that outing.  He has a losing 2-4 mark at home despite having a respectable 3.56 ERA in nine starts.  Volstad will be making just his fifth daytime start, posting a 1-3 mark and 6.04 ERA.  In four career outings versus the Braves, he is 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA.

Bettors will notice the disparity between Sunday records between the two clubs, with the Braves standing at 7-8 (-190) and the Marlins checking in at 11-4 (+890).  Don’t get too carried away due to the Fish being 31-37 against right-handed starters this season (-540).

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