The Atlanta Braves are back on track offensively after avoiding their third straight shutout, but now have to face a red-hot right-hander that shut them down only six days ago.
As they continue to fight for a postseason berth Friday night, the Braves seek their fourth straight road win over the Miami Marlins while trying to deny Jarred Cosart his fourth consecutive victory.Atlanta totaled one run and went 1 for 23 with runners in scoring position while dropping three of four, then bounced back in Wednesday's 7-4 home win over Philadelphia.Justin Upton, who has team highs of 26 home runs and 91 RBIs, sat out with a triceps injury. The two-time All-Star could return against the Marlins, though he's 5 for 30 with one homer in his last nine contests in Miami.The Braves (73-67) are in a tight battle with San Francisco, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh for the two NL wild-card spots, while the slumping Marlins (67-71) have fallen back in that race.Atlanta may have another difficult time at the plate in a rematch with Cosart in the opener of this three-game series. Acquired in a six-player trade with Houston on July 31, Cosart scattered seven hits over seven-plus innings in a 4-0 road victory over the Braves on Saturday."(He) was like your right-handed version of Cliff Lee," Braves right fielder Jason Heyward told MLB's official website. "A lot of cutters in the zone and a lot of cutters ahead of the zone. If you have a good curveball, everything is hard, it's a tough at-bat."Cosart (3-1, 1.64 ERA) has gone 3-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his last four starts, and he's 2-0 with a 0.64 mark in his two outings against Atlanta."For him, going from Houston to our team, a team that is young and headed in the right direction and is fighting for a playoff spot, that energizes guys," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond, whose club has dropped eight of 11.Heyward is 2 for 5 off Cosart and has batted .411 in his last 14 games against the Marlins. He went 5 for 13 with a triple and four RBIs to help the Braves complete a three-game sweep in Miami from May 30-June 1.Aaron Harang (10-9, 3.64) did not get the decision in the finale of that set despite allowing two runs over 6 2/3 innings of a 4-2 win.The right-hander had been 1/3 with an 8.44 ERA in his previous seven starts in Miami, including arguably his worst outing of the season April 30. He allowed a season-high nine runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings of that 9-3 defeat.Harang also opposed Cosart in last week's meeting at Turner Field, giving up four runs -- three earned -- over 5 2/3 innings. He's 0-2 with a 5.10 ERA in five starts against the Marlins in 2014.Giancarlo Stanton is 6 for 13 with two doubles against Harang this season. The slugger hit his NL-leading 36th home run and third in as many games in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the New York Mets.Stanton is one homer shy of matching his career high and tying Dan Uggla's franchise record of 154.These teams have split 16 meetings this season, including the previous six at Marlins Park.
Jarred Cosart has surrendered a .083 ISO in at-bats to end in his curveball this season, which is 26 points below the league average among qualified starters. Chris Johnson has a .027 ISO in at-bats to end in a curveball this season, which is 100 points below the league average among qualified hitters.