Marlins take aim at Braves in battle of touted youngsters

MLB

The Miami Marlins will hand the ball to one of their best young pitchers, while the starting-deprived Atlanta Braves will offer another opportunity to one of their promising young arms when the teams play the second game of a three-game series in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Rookie Sixto Sanchez (1-1, 2.37 ERA), 22, will start for the Marlins against Atlanta’s Kyle Wright (0-3, 7.20), who is 24 years old.

The Braves (24-17) enter the game with a two-game advantage over second-place Philadelphia in the National League East. The Marlins (18-18) are 3 1/2 games behind. Atlanta and Miami have split four games this year.

Sanchez joined the Marlins as one of the three players acquired in the trade that sent J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia prior to the 2019 season. Sanchez had been ranked as Philadelphia’s top prospect and No. 13 in the minor leagues.

Sanchez has made three starts since being promoted from Miami’s alternate site and has been effective in each. In 19 innings, Sanchez has struck out 19 and walked only one. He’s pitched seven innings in each of his last two starts, most recently on Sept. 2 when he took the loss against Toronto despite allowing only two runs on six hits.

“I’m just trying to keep it simple,” Sanchez said. “Every day, I go out there, I work out and prepare myself for the outing and just work on my pitches and location and get ready.”

Miami manager Don Mattingly has been impressed with what he’s seen from the youngster.

“He hangs in there,” Mattingly said. “He changes speeds. It tells you what kind of guy he is.”

The Braves originally had been expected to start left-hander Robbie Erlin, but he was used in three innings of relief Monday when rookie Ian Anderson suffered from a high pitch count and could only finish three innings.

“It’s a learning moment,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said after Anderson’s early exit. “He’s a young kid. It’s not going to be easy all the time.”

Wright can attest to that. The big right-hander was Atlanta’s top draft choice — No. 5 overall — out of Vanderbilt in 2017. But he’s had trouble throwing strikes when given an opportunity in the major leagues.

This will be Wright’s fifth start, and only once has he pitched past the fourth inning. That came on Aug. 8 in a 5-0 loss to Philadelphia, when he allowed four runs in six innings.

Wright faced the Marlins in his most recent start on Aug. 14. He worked three innings and allowed three runs. He was then optioned to the alternate training site.

Miami slowed Atlanta’s power in the first game of the series. Atlanta’s franchise record streak of five games with at least three home runs had come to an end the day before, while the Braves still went deep twice against Washington on Sunday. But the Braves didn’t hit a longball against the Marlins until Adam Duvall’s pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning tied the game.

The Marlins got clutch pitching from their bullpen and caused the Braves to leave the bases loaded twice and strand the tying run at third base in the 10th inning. The Braves were 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

The Braves had no answer for Miami shortstop Miguel Rojas. He was 4 for 5, including a double that drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th. Rojas scored a run and drove in two. He is now hitting .419 (18 for 43) in road games.

–Field Level Media

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