Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fernandez looks to slow streaking Braves

Now that the Braves have begun to right themselves after a series sweep of the Mets, they are looking forward to spending the next few days at Marlins Park, the only stadium within which they are undefeated this season.
Winners of five in a row, the Braves will open a two-game series on Tuesday night against the Marlins, whose bid to rise to the top of the National League standings has been hampered by their 1-6 record against Atlanta. Each of the past four three-game series played between these two teams in Miami have resulted in a sweep, with Atlanta being on the favorable end three times.
The Braves opened this season with nine consecutive losses before completing a three-game sweep at Marlins Park in April.
Atlanta's attempt to extend its success against the Marlins will be challenged when Jose Fernandez opposes Bud Norris in Tuesday's series opener. As part of managing his innings, Fernandez skipped one start, so Tuesday's game will be his first outing since his June 11 loss at Arizona. The right-hander was perfect for 5 2/3 innings before the outing turned south. He allowed four runs with two outs and suffered the loss.
The Marlins held Fernandez back one start with the goal of keeping him at around 180 innings on the season, in hopes of him not being shut down late in the year.
Things to know
• Norris has been a pleasant surprise since he returned to the rotation after spending all of May in Atlanta's bullpen. The veteran right-hander, who posted an 8.74 ERA in five April starts, allowed five earned runs over 17 innings in three starts against the Dodgers, Cubs and Reds this month.
• Fernandez pitched to a 0.93 ERA over four starts against the Braves before he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014. His first start against Atlanta last year was blemished by a right triceps strain that led to a disabled list stint. He then allowed six earned runs in just five innings against the Braves last Sept. 25 in Miami.
• Christian Yelich was given a day off on Monday with Ichiro Suzuki starting in left field. Yelich is fine, and the decision to not start was part of giving the 24-year-old periodic days off. He dealt with back spasms earlier in the season. Manager Don Mattingly said the fact Ichiro is a replacement option makes it easier to rest his regulars.

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