Ozzie Albies and the Atlanta Braves square off with the Miami Marlins on Friday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb brings a 20-inning scoreless streak into Friday's game against the Miami Marlins as the teams open a three-game series at SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Newcomb (4-1, 2.51 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Dan Straily (1-0, 5.54) when the National League East rivals meet for the second time this season. The Braves won three of four games against the Marlins last week in Miami.
Atlanta has won seven of its last nine games. The division-leading Braves had the finale of their three-game series against Chicago rained out Thursday.
Miami lost the finale of its three-game set against Los Angeles and trail the Braves by 10 1/2 games.
All eyes will be on Newcomb, the 6-foot-3 southpaw who has shown impeccable command in his second season with the Braves. Newcomb threw six shutout innings and allowed only one hit against the Marlins in his last outing May 13.
"He's probably been their best guy over there," Florida manager Don Mattingly said. "He's got a fastball that takes off on you. I think we saw it on the right-handers, the ball takes off. His changeup has the same kind of direction. He was able to keep us off the board for a long time."
The streak includes seven scoreless innings against New York on May 2 and continued with six scoreless against Tampa Bay on May 8. He allowed only two hits in each game.
There is a chance the Braves could give Newcomb an extra day of rest and start left-hander Max Fried, who was recalled from Triple-A when rookie Mike Siroka was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. It is more likely that Atlanta will keep Newcomb on regular rest rather than tamper with his routine, though.
Straily is still trying to get straight after having his season start late because of right forearm inflammation on March 20. After rehab assignments with Class A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville, Straily was activated and returned to the majors April 30.
This will be his fourth start of the season and second consecutive outing against Atlanta. He beat the Braves on May 13 when he pitched five innings and allowed three runs, three hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
Straily threw 102 pitches and was able to push through the fifth after a mound visit from Mattingly.
"There are conversations that are going on throughout the game all the time," Straily said. "They're usually not on the center of the field like that, but there are conversations like that going on all the time about how you're feeling."
Straily has made seven previous starts against the Braves, going 3-2 with a 5.24 ERA. In his first four appearances against the Braves last season, he allowed three or fewer earned runs in at least five innings.
On offense, Miami rookie Brian Anderson had his streak of reaching base end at 12 games Thursday when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Catcher J.T. Realmuto has been hot, going 9-for-28, with two home runs in the last seven games.
Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies, who had a double and triple Wednesday, leads the league with nine multiple extra-base hit games. Chipper Jones set the franchise record with 17 in 1999 and Javy Lopez matched him in 2003.