Braves vs. Marlins NLDS Game 3 | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Miami Marlins will be the home team for the first time in their neutral-site NLDS against the Atlanta Braves as the teams play Game 3 of the series Thursday afternoon from Houston. Will Miami be playing to save its season?

How to Bet Braves at Marlins MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 2:08 PM ET
  • Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Kyle Wright/Sixto Sanchez
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Stream/gameday audio: Fox Sports Go;
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA

Why Bet on Atlanta? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

How important are Game 1s for the Braves? They won Game 1 of this series on Tuesday 9-5 and are 12-4 when winning the series opener and 3-17 when losing it. League-wide, the team that wins Game 1 of a best-of-five advances 70 percent of the time. This is the third time the Braves have faced a National League East opponent in the postseason. The Marlins defeated them 4-2 in the 1997 NLCS. The Braves beat the Mets 4-2 in the 1999 NLCS to advance to their most recent World Series.

After Max Fried, who pitched Game 1 on Tuesday, and Ian Anderson, who pitched Game 2 on Wednesday, the Braves have major rotation questions. That makes Atlanta’s bullpen hugely important. In the regular season, the Braves bullpen compiled a 3.40 ERA (103 ER/272.2 IP), while throwing the most innings in the National League. The relievers’ 3.40 ERA was the fourth best in baseball. The Braves went 27-0 in the regular season when leading after six innings.

They will turn to Kyle Wright for Game 3. He was 2-4 with a 5.21 ERA this season and last pitched Sept. 25 vs. Boston. Wright yielded two runs in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Red Sox. He gave up just two hits — including a solo homer to Jackie Bradley Jr. — while walking three and striking out four. Wright had a 2.37 ERA and 14/6 K/BB ratio in 19 innings over his final three starts.

Wright faced Miami last on Sept. 8. He was removed after giving up five runs and three homers in four innings. That dropped Wright to 0-4 with an 8.05 ERA on the year but he got much better down the stretch.

None of Atlanta’s projected starting rotation at the beginning of the year — Mike Soroka, Fried, Kyle Wright, Sean Newcomb, Mike Foltynewicz — spent the entire season in the Braves rotation, and just Fried and Wright ended the season starting for Atlanta. Wright and Newcomb were both optioned to the Alternate Training Site during the year.

Wright was a candidate to go first overall in the 2017 MLB Draft as he was a highly-touted prospect out of Vanderbilt but ended up going No. 5 overall to Atlanta.

Why Bet on Miami? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Marlins opted not to put outfielder and trade acquisition Sterling Marte on their NLDS roster after he fractured a finger in the Wild-Card Round vs. Chicago. Manager Don Mattingly waited until the last minute to make that decision. It’s unclear if Marte could be ready if the Marlins were able to advance. Magneuris Sierra start in Marte’s place in center field in Game 1 on Tuesday. The 24-year-old offers good defense and speed, but he’s not close to the hitter Marte is.

It’s one of the top young pitching prospects in baseball scheduled on the mound here in 22-year-old right-hander Sixto Sanchez. During his first-ever MLB regular season, he made seven starts and not until Aug. 22. Sanchez averaged 97.6 MPH on his fastball overall, third fastest among MLB starters behind the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (98.6) and the Dodgers’ Dustin May (98.0). Sanchez finished 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA.

Sanchez has the number 45 tattooed on his neck as an homage to Hall of Famer Pedro Martínez. Sanchez has long been likened to Pedro for everything from his stocky build to his uncannily similar delivery. Last month, Martinez went so far as to dub Sanchez “Mini-Me with better stuff.”

In the Wild-Card round vs. Tampa, Sanchez became youngest pitcher in franchise history to make his postseason debut as a starter. Sanchez held the Cubs off the scoreboard for five innings last Friday as the Marlins won 2-0 in Game 2 of their Wild Card Series to advance.

Sanchez and Yu Darvish matched zeros for most of the day. Sanchez limited the Cubs to just four singles and two walks while fanning six over his five frames, getting pulled only because his pitch count had risen to 89. Sanchez did need a little help, as Matt Joyce threw a runner out at home in the fourth inning. He finished his day by whiffing Kyle Schwarber with the bases loaded in the fifth.

“If he stays healthy, [Sanchez] will give people fits for a long time,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Sanchez last month. “He’s the total package. He throws a lot of strikes, and he can go get more [velocity] when he wants. There’s a lot to like.”

Sanchez last faced the Braves on Sept. 23 and went just three innings while allowing four runs in a loss. He threw just 44-of-75 pitches for strikes.

Expert Prediction Braves 4, Marlins 3  

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