Sitting a distant 11 1/2 games behind first-place Washington in the National League East, the Miami Marlins may have declared their intentions as sellers by swinging a significant deal with Detroit on Monday.
The Atlanta Braves, meanwhile, are just 4 1/2 back of the Nationals and still dreaming of the postseason as they try to halt a three-game losing streak by sending Tim Hudson to the mound in South Florida against Mark Buehrle and the Marlins in the middle contest of a three-game set.
The Braves are buyers in the trade market and are reportedly on the verge of acquiring pitcher Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs. Dempster, who has a major-league best 2.11 ERA this season, still has to approve the trade, according to the Braves' official website.
"I know what you guys know, basically the same thing, maybe a little bit more. I'm not going to lie to you about that," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Atlanta's website. "But that's all I know right now. We're in a holding pattern."
That holding pattern included a third straight loss on Monday, when Josh Johnson tossed six shutout innings as Miami snapped a five-game slide with a 2-1 win over the Braves in the opener of the series.
Johnson (6-7) allowed just one hit and fanned nine to collect the win before leaving the game for precautionary reasons due to irritation on his right middle finger.
Mike Dunn, Edward Mujica and Randy Choate navigated through the seventh and the eighth and Steve Cishek allowed a run in the ninth, but closed it out to record his third save of the season.
Carlos Lee ripped an RBI single and Emilio Bonifacio cracked a solo home run in the victory for the Marlins, who were active in the trade market prior to the game.
Hours before Monday's first pitch, the Marlins acquired top pitching prospect Jacob Turner from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for second baseman Omar Infante and pitcher Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins also acquired catcher Rob Brantly and pitcher Brian Flynn and a compensatory pick in the trade as the club looks toward the future.
"We lost a couple of guys we thought were going to be players to the end," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Unfortunately, we're not playing well enough to keep those guys."
Chipper Jones knocked in Atlanta's lone run on Monday and Mike Minor (5-7) pitched well in the team's latest loss, allowing two runs on six hits and no walks with four strikeouts over seven innings.
"I felt ok, just the first inning was a little rough," Minor said. "I made some pitches and they kind of snuck in there for some hits."
Hudson has traditionally dominated the Marlins and will be shooting to win his fourth straight start in Miami.
Buehrle, meanwhile, has split a pair of starts against Atlanta this season and is 3-1 all-time versus the Braves, who have won 10 of their last 13 in Miami.