Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves Pick & Prediction APRIL 13th 2024

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It will be experience against youth on the mound Saturday when the Atlanta Braves visit the Miami Marlins in the middle game of a weekend series.

The Braves, who won the series opener 8-1 on Friday, will start left-hander Chris Sale (1-0, 3.38 ERA), while the Marlins will go with right-hander Max Meyer (1-0, 2.45).

At 35, Sale is a decade older than Meyer. But their careers align in that both are former first-round draft picks, and both have missed one full season due to elbow surgery. Also, both pitchers are known for their superb sliders.

Meyer would love to have the success experienced by Sale, a native Floridian who was the 13th overall pick out of Florida Gulf Coast in 2010.

From 2012 to 2019, Sale averaged 29 starts per season, making seven consecutive All-Star appearances and winning one World Series title (2018 with the Boston Red Sox).

But Sale, who twice led the American League in strikeouts (2015, 2017), hasn’t been the same since undergoing elbow surgery in March 2020.

In the three full years since his return in 2021, Sale as averaged just 10 starts per season and has been limited by injures, including to his shoulder, finger and ribs.

He has faced the Marlins twice in his career, both times in Miami, going 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA.

Sale, who signed a two-year, $38 million contract extension with the Braves in January, said he appreciates the organization.

“They put their faith in me,” Sale said. “This allows me to be comfortable, knowing I will be here a couple of years. I can settle in.”

Sale is at the top of a rotation in flux. Spencer Strider, who led the majors last year in wins (20) and strikeouts (281), has an elbow injury that may require surgery. Max Fried is a free agent after this season, and Charlie Morton, 40, is expected to retire any year now.

As for the Marlins, Meyer, a native of Minnesota, was the third overall pick in the 2020 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2022, going 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in two starts.

However, on Aug. 9 of that season, Meyer had elbow surgery, knocking him out for all of 2023.

Meyer, who has yet to face the Braves, is one of the big hopes for a young Marlins rotation.

“Max is an easy guy to root for,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said of Meyer, who got his first major league win last Sunday, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 10-3. “He’s a special kid who has this ninth-inning mentality every pitch.

“He has a bright future here.”

Meyer on Saturday will face a dangerous Braves lineup that swings at first pitches more often than any team in the National League.

The Braves, who have won six straight National League East titles, are a nightmare for opposing pitchers, led offensively by right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr., third baseman Austin Riley, first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Ozzie Albies, and designated hitter Marcell Ozuna.

Those five players combined last season to hit 205 homers — an average of 41 per hitter.

The Marlins, meanwhile, have only one player who hit more than 22 homers last year. That is third baseman Jake Burger, who had 34 last year, but 25 came with the Chicago White Sox before he was traded to Miami.

–Field Level Media

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