The Miami Marlins have a tough task when they kick the 2020 season off in Philadelphia. For the still-rebuilding Marlins team, a shortened campaign means an opportunity to surprise a few experts. The club can make 2020 count, against all odds, although a tough NL East makes this an almost impossible mission. Before that time comes around, Miami will travel to Atlanta just two days before their opening game for a pair of exhibition games.
As announced on July 10th, the Marlins will visit one of their most fierce divisional rivals at Truist Park for two games on July 21st (7:00 PM) and July 22nd (1:00 PM); both are airing live on FOX Sports Florida.
According to the team, only team personnel will be traveling due to enforced COVID-19 restrictions. This rules out TV and radio announcers, who will be doing the voice-over from Miami.
This effectively means that the couple of intrasquad games the team is currently doing will be the last piece of action for the Marlins in Florida until July 27th. After the two-game exhibition series in Georgia, the club will face the Phillies on the road before a home opener against the Baltimore Orioles.
On July 21st, the Marlins will play their first “preseason” game since March 12th. Their last scrimmage was a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Before the league suspended operations, Miami had lost just four times in twelve Spring Training games (.667 wining percentage).
Atlanta, meanwhile, also last played on Match 12th, defeating the Tigers 5-3 at Detriot’s spring-training facility in Lakeland. The Braves open their campaign on July 24th at 4 pm ET against the New York Mets.
The Braves swept the Marlins during their last series at SunTrust Park in late August 2019. Atlanta came out on top in 15 of 19 games last year. In addition, the reigning NL East champions have won all but two season series over Miami since 2003.
The pair of games in Atlanta could provide manager Don Mattingly a chance to determine the final pieces of the team’s 40-man roster. The highlight is the race for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Miami’s starting pitching is surely set to dictate the direction of the rebuild. The inner competition just goes to prove that. Jose Urena, Elieser Hernandez, and Trevor Rogers could be amongst the candidates.
Designated hitter and the bottom of the bullpen are another two components that pose questions. As noted in a recent article, Monte Harrison, Jonathan Villar, Jesus Aguilar, and Harold Ramirez could fight for the DH job. However, multiple players could be featured in a rotation.
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