The Atlanta Braves hope to find their missing offense when they return home to start a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
The reigning World Series champions scored only eight runs in a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers to start the week. They put up only 20 runs while going 3-4 on their just-concluded road trip.
The Marlins are having offensive troubles, too. They scored just six runs in losing two of three games against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals the past three days.
Miami has scored three or fewer runs in seven of its 12 games.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker isn’t overly concerned about his club’s offense, knowing he likely will have slugging outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. back in the lineup shortly. Acuna, who is returning from knee surgery, has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett, and the target date for his return is May 6.
“It would have been nice to have won the last game and had a winning road trip,” Snitker said. “But like I always say, we have only scratched the surface of what we’re capable of yet. Guys are hanging in there, they’re working, and that’s pretty much all you can ask.
“We’ll be fine. It’s a good team.”
The Braves hitters struggling the most are shortstop Dansby Swanson, who has struck out 22 times in 49 at-bats, and second baseman Ozzie Albies, who is batting just .218 but has a team-leading five home runs and nine RBIs.
The series opener will feature Atlanta right-hander Kyle Wright (1-0, 1.64 ERA) and Miami left-hander Trevor Rogers (0-2, 12.15).
Wright has been impressive in both of his starts. In 11 innings, he has allowed two runs and has struck out 15 while waling only one. In his latest outing, on April 15 against the San Diego Padres, he received no decision after allowing two runs in five innings with a career-high nine strikeouts.
Against Miami, Wright is 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA and nine strikeouts in three career appearances, all starts.
“He was just getting after them,” Atlanta center fielder Adam Duvall said after Wright’s start in San Diego. “He was throwing everything, it looked like, with everything he had. His curveball, he wasn’t holding back. Seeing that, it sends vibes through the team and through the lineup.”
Rogers was roughed up in his latest start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday when he allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, the shortest start of his career.
“He backed himself into a corner in the first,” Miami pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said. “We do have some adjustments to make. He knows he needs to get ahead. We spend a lot of time talking about that.”
Rogers has struggled against Atlanta, going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four career starts. In his most recent start vs. the Braves on Sept. 29, Rogers allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The game also marks the return to Atlanta for World Series MVP Jorge Soler, who signed as a free agent with the Marlins in the offseason.
Soler hit 14 homers in 55 games with the Braves after being acquired at the trade deadline, then added three homers and six RBIs in Atlanta’s World Series win over the Houston Astros. He is hitting .152 with one home run through 12 games with Miami.
–Field Level Media