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Braves vs. Marlins Series Preview: The Biggest Series Of The Season

After being swept twice last week, the Braves need to get back on track and in a hurry. They can do that this week at Turner Field, as the team welcomes in the Florida Marlins.

This is it for the Atlanta Braves. There is no more time to mess around and dilly daddle in the standings; it's now or never in 2011 and that begins with a three-game series with the Florida Marlins.

After having a lead in the wild card of nearly 10 games just two weeks ago, Atlanta leads St. Louis -- a team that just swept the Braves this past weekend -- by a mere 4.5 games with 15 games left to play. While it would be nice for the Cardinals to help our cause by losing a few games, if the Braves take care of business the rest of the way, there won't be any problems reaching the playoffs as the wild card winner for the second consecutive season.

Turning around the mediocre play of the last few series begins Monday evening with the Marlins. Florida, a team that never managed to recover from their abysmal month of June, currently sits at 66-79, though they are fresh off a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. That being said, the Marlins are a team completely out of contention and are focusing on building for 2012.

Ideally, Atlanta comes away with a sweep this week at Turner Field. Even two out of three games would work as well. But a series loss or the third consecutive sweep from an opponent? Chaos would take of Braves Country and the panic levels would be at an all-time high.

Pitching Matchups:

Monday, 7:10 EDT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Brandon Beachy 7-2 22 22 0 0 0 0 126.0 106 50 46 16 36 142 3.29 1.13
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Chris Volstad 5-12 25 25 0 0 0 0 140.2 165 90 84 21 44 100 5.37 1.49

Tuesday, 7:10 EDT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Mike Minor 5-2 12 12 0 0 0 0 66.2 77 33 32 3 22 61 4.32 1.49
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Brad Hand 1-6 10 10 0 0 0 0 50.2 41 25 22 9 32 28 3.91 1.44

Wednesday, 12:10 EDT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Randall Delgado 0-1 4 4 0 0 0 0 20.0 15 9 8 3 9 13 3.60 1.20
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ricky Nolasco 10-10 30 30 2 1 0 0 190.1 225 101 93 17 40 138 4.40 1.39

Braves Lineup, 9/12:

Bourn - CF

Chipper - 3B

Freeman - 1B

Uggla - 2B

McCann - C

Prado - LF

Heyward - RF

Gonzalez - SS

Beachy - SP

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.