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|4:20 PM PT5:20 PM MT6:20 PM CT7:20 PM ET19:20 ET23:20 GMT7:20 4:20 PM MST6:20 PM EST6:50 PM VEN3:20 UAE (+1)6:20 PM CT, August 20, 2019
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia Attendance: 21,271
Braves looking to extend mastery of Marlins
Atlanta opened its current homestand against two of the National League's hottest teams. Beginning Tuesday, the Braves finish it with three games against the last-place Miami Marlins, a team they've dominated all season.
The opening game features Atlanta left-hander Dallas Keuchel (3-5, 4.39 ERA) against Miami right-hander Elieser Hernandez (2-5, 5.40). It is the final series of the season between the NL East rivals.
The Braves -- 4-2 on the homestand against the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers -- are 12-4 against the Marlins this season. That success has contributed greatly to Atlanta's current position as the division leader. Miami was swept over the weekend by the Colorado Rockies and has won only three of its past 10 games.
"We've made progress," Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said. "We started off about as bad as you could start and there was a period where we were playing pretty good baseball. Now we're scuffling and I think that's part of the growing pains young teams have. We have to find a way to get better."
Keuchel is making his 12th start of the season. He has been inconsistent since signing with the Braves as a free agent in June, but was excellent in his last start Wednesday against the Mets. He pitched six scoreless innings and struck out seven, but received no decision after the bullpen coughed up the lead in a game the Braves eventually won.
Keuchel is 1-1 with an 8.18 ERA in two starts against the Marlins this season. That includes one of the worst performances of his career on Aug. 8 when he allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings at Miami. In four career starts against Miami, he's 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA.
"Outside of (the Miami) start, I feel I'm as good as I've ever been," Keuchel said. "Couple of starts where I left runners on and they scored. Name of the game is don't leave any runners on. You should be alright. That happens sometimes."
Hernandez makes his fifth start since rejoining the starting rotation. This is his 16th appearance and 10th start of the season. He is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA over the past four starts. He gave up six runs in six innings in his most recent start against the Dodgers.
Hernandez has had seven previous appearances, two of them starts, against Atlanta, going 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA. He looked good in his most recent start against the Braves on Aug. 8 when he threw six scoreless innings and allowed two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The Braves are closing in a couple of offensive milestones.
Josh Donaldson's next home run will be his 30th and would give the Braves their third player with 30, joining Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. It would be the seventh time the team has had at least three players reach 30 homers in a season, the last coming in 2003 with Andruw Jones, Javy Lopez and Gary Sheffield. The 1998 team had a club-record four players with 30-plus.
Acuna's next stolen base will be his 30th and make him the second player to have 30 homers and 30 steals in a season prior to his 22nd birthday. Mike Trout did it in 2012. Acuna is seeking the fifth 30-30 season in franchise history.
--Field Level Media
Updated August 19, 2019