Manager Brian Snitker and his Atlanta Braves face the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves will give another one of their young pitching prospects an opportunity to showcase their skills as the club continues to pursue its first playoff appearance since 2013.
Left-hander Kolby Allard, ranked as the 10th-best left-handed prospect in the major leagues, will make his debut against Miami in the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park. Allard will be opposed by veteran right-hander Dan Straily (4-4, 4.07).
Allard is part of a new team strategy to use a six-man rotation. The team will call up additional players from the minor leagues to make the additional start in an effort to give the regular rotation an additional day of rest.
"We want to stretch everybody out and give them the extra day," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "It has worked out well for us. Plus, I'm kind of excited about seeing (Allard). He's had a decent year and he's been in the mix for a long time."
Allard, 20, was Atlanta's first-round draft pick in 2015. He has spent all season with Triple-A Gwinnett, going 6-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 18 starts. He has 87 strikeouts and 33 walks in 109 1/3 innings.
Atlanta is in a stretch of 31 games in 31 days and could use rookie Touki Toussaint, Luiz Gohara and Matt Wisler to get through the busy stretch.
"Really, until the end of the season, there aren't a lot of off days," Snitker said. "We'll be playing a lot of baseball, so it will be good to have (Allard) in the mix."
Straily has been tough on the Braves this season. He's 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts, striking out 11 and allowing only one homer in 12 innings. In eight career starts against Atlanta, Straily is 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA.
Straily had a stretch of five straight quality starts snapped in his last outing when he allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings against Washington. His ERA for July was 2.84 and ranked ninth among National League starters.
"All the runs I gave up were executed pitches," Straily said. "That's just baseball."
There is a chance Straily could be traded before the day is over. He has been rumored to be on the block, with Oakland as a potential destination.
The Marlins are also said to be entertaining a trade for right-handed reliever Brad Ziegler. The right-hander has a 0.93 ERA in 29 appearances since June 1. Clubs who have shown interest include Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Arizona. Ziegler is in the final year of his contract.
The Marlins have been getting good production from utility man Derek Dietrich, who played college ball at Georgia Tech. He is 19-for-43 (.441) with four doubles, four homers and nine RBIs in his last 12 road games. He was 1-for-3 with two walks and scored two times in the series opener.
The Marlins could be getting close to having Sandy Alcantara back. The right-hander has been out since July 1 with a right armpit infection. He will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday before the club decides to activate him or give him another rehab assignment.