Marlins hope Braves' visit revives their playoff shot

MIAMI -- It is getting to be too late for the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins lost to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night, and Miami's chances of making the National League playoffs as a wild-card team decreased.

Mind you, projections entering the week gave Miami a 0.7 percent chance at making the postseason. So it was already bleak for the Marlins. Now it's worse.

With 10 games to play, Miami (76-76) sits four games behind the three teams that share the two NL wild-card positions, the Cardinals, Giants and Mets. St. Louis, San Francisco and New York are all 80-72.

The good news for the Marlins -- seemingly at least -- is that the Atlanta Braves (61-91) arrive on Thursday to start a four-game series.

And while it is true that the Braves have been awful overall this season, Atlanta just swept the Mets in three games at New York. And, before that, the Braves took a series from the Nationals.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly, though, said to can forget what just happened or what happened earlier in the season.

"That (Braves) series (with New York) is over," Mattingly said Wednesday. "They have to come here and play. We have to play tomorrow night. It's going to be who plays better tomorrow.

"Momentum at this point is really just that day and your pitcher that night. What they've been doing or what we've been doing, and we've been playing well, doesn't really matter.

"It's going to be Jose (Urena) tomorrow going out and keeping us in the game early and seeing if we can put some runs on the board and win a game."

Still, Atlanta has given Miami fits all year. The Braves swept the Marlins at Miami in April and took two out of three from the Marlins in May.

The teams split two- and four-game series in June and July. Miami finally got the better of the Braves, winning two of three at Atlanta earlier this month. However, Miami has yet to take a 2016 series from the Braves at Marlins Park.

To accomplish the feat, the Marlins would love a solid start from Urena, who has been wildly inconsistent this season.

Urena (4-7, 5.59 ERA) gave up seven runs in two innings in his most recent start, Saturday at Philadelphia. However, in his previous start, he went 8 2/3 innings and did not allow a run against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Perhaps Urena, 25, is tired since -- counting his minor league work -- he is at 124 innings this season. He finished at 131 innings last year.,

Atlanta will start right-hander Josh Collmenter, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs' organization on Sept. 14. Collmenter (2-0, 4.61 ERA) beat the Washington Nationals in his Braves debut on Saturday, allowing two runs in five innings. Atlanta won the game 7-3.

He began the season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, going 1-0 with a 4.84 ERA in 15 relief appearances before he was released in August.

Collmenter-Urena is far from a marquee matchup, but it still should be an interesting battle because the Marlins are hanging on by their fingernails in the wild-card race while the Braves are improving.

Atlanta is coming off a high point -- both literally and figuratively. Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte leaped at the wall to rob the Mets' Yoenis Cespedes of a two-out, three-run walk-off homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, preserving a 4-3 win.

"I think this is the best feeling I've had in a baseball game," Inciarte said. "Robbing a home run in that situation, it's really special. Really special feeling."