The Atlanta Braves are taking the Miami Marlins quite seriously.
Atlanta, which beat host Miami 4-3 on Friday night to move 21 games over .500, is set to play a day/night doubleheader on Saturday with the Marlins, who are 12 under the break-even mark.
"There's no game that's an actual given,"Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You have good players over there (on the Marlins).
"It's hard to win a major league game against anybody. You don't take anybody lightly or baseball will kick you in the gut or teeth or anything else."
The twin bill will start with Braves lefty Kyle Muller (0-1, 23.63 ERA) matching up with Marlins lefty Jesus Luzardo (3-4, 3.29).
Atlanta will start right-hander Ian Anderson (9-6, 5.11) in the second game. Miami has not announced its second starter.
The Marlins are 3-5 in games started by Luzardo, who didn't pitch from May 10 until Aug. 1 due to a forearm strain.
Since returning, however, Luzardo is pitching his best ball all year, going 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings.
Luzardo has faced the Braves once this year, getting the win on April 24, when he allowed one run on two hits with four walks and eight strikeouts in five innings.
However, for his career against the Braves, he is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA.
Muller, Atlanta's second-round pick in 2016, made his major league debut last year, going 2-4 with a 4.17 ERA in nine games, including eight starts.
This year, the 24-year-old Muller has pitched just once in the majors, lasting only 2 2/3 innings on May 1 against the host Texas Rangers. He allowed four hits, six walks and seven runs.
He has faced the Marlins once in his career, a 3-2 home loss in July 2021. He lasted 5 2/3 innings in that game, allowing four hits, four walks and three runs, striking out seven.
But Muller was 5-6 with a 3.27 ERA in 17 Triple-A starts this year, which earned him another chance at the majors.
Meanwhile, the Braves are 14-7 this year when Anderson makes the start, but just 1-2 against the Marlins. In those starts, he has a 5.40 ERA against the Marlins. For his career, he is 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts against Miami.
Speaking of Anderson, the Marlins have one of those, too.
Third baseman/right fielder Brian Anderson -- no relation to Ian - returned on Friday from a left shoulder injury. He hadn't played in the majors since July 23, but he looked great on Friday, going 2-for-3 with a blistering solo homer that carried an exit velocity of 111 mph. It came on his first at-bat since leaving the injured list.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he is planning to protect Anderson's shoulder by playing him in the outfield exclusively.
"It's hard not to dive at third base -- it's a reactionary play," Mattingly said. "In the outfield, you have a choice."
Atlanta's right fielder -- young superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. -- went 0-for-4 on Friday, with an OPS of .759, far below his career mark of .898.
Not that Snitker is worried.
"(Acuna's) bat has been a lot better (lately)," Snitker said prior to Friday's game. "It's gradually getting there."
--Field Level Media