The National League East race has tightened a bit since Atlanta's red-hot start to the season. But if the Braves continue to reel off victories, no one is going to catch them.
On Wednesday afternoon, the NL East leaders go for a sweep in Miami, having spent an MLB-high 99 days in first place. By virtue of its current six-game lead over Washington, Atlanta will have made it an even 100 by the end of the day.
Hoping to spoil the Braves' party will be Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner, who took his first loss of the season in his last time out in St. Louis on Friday. Still, the 22-year-old has looked very sharp in his seven starts, going 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA.
Turner has already posted five quality starts, including a complete-game gem against the Padres in his most recent outing at Marlins Park. He says that past success is all he needs to put his last outing -- four earned runs allowed in six innings in his home state of Missouri -- behind him.
"I'm going to have confidence if I give up 10 runs in the first inning," Turner said. "That's just what you've got to go out there with. You've got to go out there with that mindset that no matter what happened the pitch before or the inning before or the at-bat before, that you're going to get that next guy out."
Opposite Turner will be Braves left-hander Paul Maholm (9-7, 3.81 ERA). Opponents are batting .328 against the veteran southpaw in his past five starts, and he's been a victim of the home run ball, allowing five during that time.
Maholm has been immensely better at home this season than on the road, where he is 4-5 with a 5.18 ERA and just one victory in his last six starts. But in his lone outing at Marlins Park this season, Maholm was brilliant, tossing seven innings of one-hit ball in a 2-0 Braves victory on April 8.
Braves: Teammates support Freeman
• Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is among five NL All-Star Game Final Vote candidates, and his teammates feel he's certainly deserving of a berth.
"He should have been on the All-Star team to start with," right-hander Tim Hudson said. "But [the Final Vote] is bringing some recognition to the kind of player he is. I think he's been very underrated around baseball."
Said hitting coach Greg Walker: "He values RBIs and helping the team. You put him in a RBI situation, and he's about as good as it gets."
Freeman is hitting .305 with nine homers and 56 RBIs on the year.
Marlins: Hechavarria streaking
• With his second-inning single on Tuesday night, Adeiny Hechavarria extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games.
During that span, the 24-year-old Marlins shortstop is batting .417, including a 2-for-4 night on Tuesday.
Hechavarria has faced Maholm once in his career, going 0-for-3 in that April 8 contest.
• Juan Pierre and Donovan Solano are the only Marlins hitters with at least 10 at-bats against Maholm. Pierre is 5-for-18 with a triple, and Solano is 2-for-10 with a three-bagger, as well.
• The Braves have now won six straight over Miami at Marlins Park, dating back to September of last season.
• Miami starting pitchers have allowed more than three runs just three times in their past 22 games. During that time, they've posted a 3.01 ERA.