Thursday, June 30, 2016

Marlins open July 4th weekend set in Atlanta

So much of the focus on the Fourth of July weekend series between the Marlins and Braves is directed at Sunday's historical game at Fort Bragg in North Carolina (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), which will be the first game in any professional sport played on an active military base. Before then, the clubs must first take care of business with three contests at Turner Field, with the first on tap for Thursday night.
The Marlins have had a rough go against the Braves this year, dropping six of eight. They turn to left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 5.00 ERA) in the series opener. Atlanta is activating right-hander Mike Foltynewicz off the DL to make the start.
Chen actually was lined up to pitch at Detroit on Wednesday, but manager Don Mattingly used Monday's day off to reshuffle the rotation. With the Braves having a predominantly left-handed-hitting lineup, Chen is getting the nod at Turner Field. He's faced Atlanta twice this season, posting a 2.38 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings, but he hasn't factored into the decision.
Foltynewicz has been sidelined over the past month because of a bone spur in his throwing elbow. He surrendered one hit over five scoreless innings while making his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett against Charlotte on Saturday.
Things to know about this game
• Justin Bour is 8-for-23 (.348) with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs against Atlanta this season.
• The Marlins possess two of the four players -- Chris Johnson and Martin Prado -- who have made at least 100 starts for the Braves at third base dating back to 1995 (Chipper Jones' rookie season). This quartet also includes Jones and Vinny Castilla.
• Atlanta right fielder Nick Markakis has batted .367 (11-for-30) against the Marlins this season.

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