The Atlanta Braves will extend their sights on top prospect Michael Harris II when they face the visiting Miami Marlins in the rubber game of their three-game series on Sunday.
Miami lost Game 1 6-4 on Friday but won 4-1 on Saturday. The teams split their eight meetings 4-4 this season.
Harris, a homegrown product who grew up in the southern Atlanta suburb of Stockbridge, is listed as the club’s No. 1 prospect. He went 1-for-3 and got his first major league hit on Saturday against Miami ace Sandy Alcantara.
Harris was recalled from Double-A Mississippi, where he hit .305 with five home runs, 33 RBIs, 33 runs and 11 stolen bases. He was the team’s third-round pick in the 2019 draft. At 21 years and 82 days, Harris is the youngest positional player to debut since Acuna, who broke at 20 years and 128 days in 2018.
“Nothing can quite match the moment of being here,” Harris said. “You can always dream about it, but actually being here, I think nothing sticks out at all.”
Harris was not called to sit on the bench. Manager Brian Snitker said Harris would start in center field and Adam Duvall would move to right field. Once Acuna gets a good health for his right quadriceps strain, he’ll move back into right field and Duvall will move to the left.
“We wouldn’t have raised him if we didn’t think he could come and help us win games,” Snitker said. “When Ronald starts playing right field and we put Duvall in the other corner and we have Harris in center field, that’s going to be one of the best defensive outfields in the game.”
Atlanta will send left-handed ace Max Fried (4-2, 3.27 ERA) against Miami right-hander Elieser Hernandez (2-4, 5.45) on Sunday.
Fried threw six solid innings against Philadelphia on Tuesday, giving up two runs and striking out five. But late-inning struggles by the bullpen left Fried with his third straight decision absence.
Fried has made 10 career starts against the Marlins, going 1-3 with a 5.89 ERA. He hasn’t faced Miami this year. He was 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA against the Marlins in 2021.
Hernandez made his last start May 21 against the Braves and allowed one run in five innings. But he was impressive in a one-set appearance against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, when he faced the minimum and stoked two.
Hernandez will make his 13th career appearance and eighth start against Atlanta. In 41 1/3 innings, he’s 1-2 with a 3.05 ERA. Twice in his career he has posted nine strikeouts, most recently against the Braves in 2020.
Miami hopes to pick up second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. for the Finals. He has been out with a left hamstring issue since May 22.
“Jazz is doing well,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “Just a medical question to say OK. Typical Jazz, he thought he could have played on Friday, but that’s where we listen to the doctors and try to keep him safe for the long term.
The Marlins also had to remove Brian Anderson from the roster on Saturday due to back spasms. It is listed daily.
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