Kris Medlen makes his first start in two years for the red-hot Atlanta Braves, who hope the right-hander can add stability to the back end of their rotation. Medlen, who missed almost all of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery, made four starts in 2009 and 14 starts in 2010 before moving to the bullpen. Atlanta has won six games in a row. The Miami Marlins’ big offseason spending and hopes of contending have imploded the past two weeks. Miami has dropped nine of its past 12.
One bright spot recently for the Marlins is shortstop Jose Reyes, who carries a 17-game hitting streak into the second contest of a four-game series at Turner Field. Atlanta, which won the opener 8-2 on Monday, has defeated Miami seven times in nine tries this season. The Braves at 16-5 since losing to the Chicago Cubs on July 4.
Miami vs Atlanta
When: 7:10 PM ET, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Florida (Miami), SportSouth (Atlanta).
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Ricky Nolasco (8-9, 4.80 ERA) vs. Braves RH Kris Medlen (1-1, 2.48).
Nolasco has lost his past three starts and has been roughed up in two appearances against Atlanta this season. The right-hander gave up eight hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday, falling to 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA against the Braves in 2012. Nolasco is 0-3 with a 7.56 ERA in his past three starts, but is 5-3 away from home.
Medlen has steadily improved throughout the season. In 10 July appearances, Medlen has allowed just eight hits and one earned run in 16 1/3 innings. The Braves went 14-4 in games started by Medlen in 2009-10. Sent to Triple-A Gwinnett to increase his work load in June, Medlen threw 46 pitches (34 strikes) in a three-inning relief appearance Wednesday against Miami.
1. Nolasco makes his 22nd career start against Atlanta. He is 5-9 with a 5.18 ERA lifetime.
2. Atlanta OF Jason Heyward is one home run away from matching his career high of 18. Heyward is hitting .306 (57-for-186) with 11 homers and 28 RBIs since June 2 (49 games).
3. The Braves have outscored Miami 52-19 in eight games this season.