Coming off two wins in Minnesota, the Braves are riding a major high going into Miami. With the Marlins losing six straight games coming into the series, the Braves have a great chance of keeping their momentum and extending their NL East lead.
The Braves handled their business in Minnesota by taking two of the three games from the AL Central-leading Twins. After the Braves lost the opening game of the series, in a game Mike Soroka was pitching, the series looked like it had the possibility of going sideways for the Braves. However, the Braves had other plans regarding the last two games. The Braves offense woke up in a big way, scoring 23 runs in the last two games, winning both games.
While the offense was going off in the last two games, the bullpen was still a major sore spot for the Braves in the Minnesota series. In the three games, the Braves bullpen gave up 10 runs as a unit. The last two games were blowouts by the Braves before the bullpen would go on to give up big leads before closing out the games. The bullpen issue isn’t new for the Braves, but after the trades to revamp the bullpen, it was thought to be less of an issue. After this series, it’s clear the bullpen issues aren’t solved.
Even with the bullpen issues, the Braves offense was enough to overcome the furious rallies of the Twins. Now, winners of their last two, the Braves will head to Miami for a four-game set with the Marlins. This season, in 12 games with the Marlins, the Braves have gone 10-2. With these four games upcoming, the Braves can improve that record even more while putting the pressure on the rest of the NL East to remain perfect just to keep ground with Atlanta.
The Braves will have to remain almost perfect to keep their lead over the surging Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets. The NL East was projected to be the toughest division in the preseason, and that prediction looked to fall flat as most of the NL East was struggling earlier in the season. Now, into August, the Nationals, Phillies, and Mets are all in the running for one of the two Wild Card positions. The Nationals, riding a three-game winning streak, and Mets, riding a 6 game winning streak, are the teams the Braves need to remain the most conscious of. The Braves can’t slip up against a team like Miami with so many surging rivals behind them.
The Braves will kick off their four-game set with the Miami Marlins tonight at 7:10. The Braves will be sending Dallas Keuchel in the first game of the series to challenge the Marlins.