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At 15-10, the Braves are tied with Marlins (14-9, two snow-outs) for first-place in the NL East, and their .600 winning percentage puts them on a pace to win 97 games.
Okay, so technically the Marlins are on pace to win 1-2 games more than that, but that will change if Atlanta sweeps the fish in this week's two-game mini-series! Ignoring the fine print (i.e., offense), the Braves actually stand a good chance of doing just that. The pitching matchups will be Mike Hampton and Al Leiter on Tuesday night (Turner South, 7:30), and Tim Hudson and AJ Burnett on Wednesday afternoon (TBS, ESPN, 1:00).
Burnett typically has a little more trouble with the Braves than most teams, but it all depends on where his control is, and his numbers against Atlanta aren't bad at all (a little worse than his norm, but still better than average). Of course, even in a good outing in this season's third game, he earned his first loss with a quality start.
Leiter, on the other hand, typically dominates the Braves. Since 2002 he's commanding a 2.14 ERA in 67.3 innings against Atlanta, and he's only allowed 3 runs in 27 innings at Turner Field. I know, it doesn't make sense to me either! To make matters worse, Hampton has struggled against the Marlins, with a 5.64 ERA against them over the last three years. Then again, the Mike Hampton of 2005 has not pitched anything like the Mike Hampton of recent years (well, maybe like the second-half Mike Hampton of recent years!), so maybe there's not much sense in comparing old numbers for this week's games!
If the Braves can pull off the mini-sweep, they'll be 17-10 after 27 games, exactly one-sixth of the season, for a pace to go 102-60 on the season. And even if they lose both games, the pace will be 90-72. Not bad at all!