Following an incredible August, Alex Wood tries to lead the Atlanta Braves to a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins on Sunday evening.
The 22-year-old rookie is 3-2 with a 2.27 earned run average in 23 games this season, including eight starts. Each of his last seven appearances have been starts as he joined the rotation full time on July 30.
Wood is 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA over those seven games and pitched to a 0.90 ERA last month, giving up three runs over 30 innings. The left-hander's latest victory came in a 2-0 decision on Tuesday versus Cleveland, though he had to work for it.
Wood hurled 5 2/3 scoreless frames, but had to overcome five hits and four walks in doing so. He threw a career-high 105 pitches.
"I felt alright. I got a little tired at the end, but stuff wise I thought it was a lot better than last week in New York," said Wood, who gave up six hits and walked two over six innings in his last start. "I think most of the walks I had was all just fastballs out of the zone. It was just one of those things where I had to battle tonight."
Wood faced the Marlins twice in relief before a start on Aug. 10 at home. He did not factor into the 1-0 loss, giving up two hits over six innings with seven strikeouts.
Nathan Eovaldi opposed Wood on that day and does so again tonight for the Marlins looking for his first win since July 12. Eovaldi allowed one hit and three walks over seven scoreless innings in the last matchup with the Braves, striking out a season-high eight.
Eovaldi is 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA in five career starts versus the Braves and has gotten two runs of support or fewer in seven of his 13 starts this season. The righty is 2-5 with a 3.76 ERA this year and has lost five decisions in a row.
He threw four quality starts in five outings in August, but went 0-4 with a 4.20 ERA in the month. He is coming off a 2-1 loss at Washington on Tuesday, with the 23year-old allowing both runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings with six strikeouts.
The Braves have picked up a pair of one-run victories in this series and used a two-out, run-scoring single from B.J. Upton in the bottom of the 11th inning to win on Saturday night 5-4.
Upton had four hits, including a two-run homer that tied the game in the sixth inning.
"I've been working hard all year," said Upton, who raised his average to .195 on the season. "Finally starting to see some consistent results."
Chris Johnson also had four hits to help the Braves finish August with a sixth straight victory and a 20-7 record for the month. Atlanta has a magic number of 13 to clinch the NL East.
Justin Ruggiano clubbed a two-run homer and Giancarlo Stanton added a solo shot for Miami, which has dropped six in a row and 10 of 11.
"Anytime you lose an extra innings game, it stings a little bit more," said Marlins starter Jacob Turner, who gave up two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. "But we just gotta keep grinding and come back here tomorrow and try to get this thing figured out."
The Marlins went just 8-20 in August and are 4-10 versus the Braves this season.