When the Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound against the Braves on Wednesday night at Turner Field, he'll have a lot to put behind him.
The right-hander turned in his worst outing of the season last Friday -- he allowed the Giants to score eight times in four-plus innings at Marlins Park.
He's given up a lot of runs lately. In his last four starts, he's 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA (17 earned runs in 24 innings). He hasn't won a game since June 23 in Philadelphia, when he shut out the Phillies for the first and only time all year.
Manager Mike Redmond attributed Eovaldi's recent struggles to the fact that he relies so much on his fastball -- and a lot of the teams the Marlins have faced are, unsurprisingly, good fastball hitters.
"I've said it all year, the key for him is to continue to work on his secondary pitches," Redmond said. "When he gets that, I think you're going to see the numbers start to improve. Instead of getting no-decisions, he's going to start winning those games."
On the bright side, Eovaldi is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves. On April 30 at Marlins Park, he gave up one run on three hits in seven innings in a win over Atlanta.
Braves starter Ervin Santana, however, hasn't been as efficient against the Marlins in his career. In five starts, he's 1-2 with a 5.61 ERA across 25 2/3 innings. But he did beat the Marlins on May 31 in Miami, scattering three runs and seven hits over six.
What the 31-year-old has going for him is a 3.67 ERA in his last four starts, a number that makes it seem like he's getting over the hump he went through from mid-May to mid-June. Santana yielded 26 earned runs in 36 1/3 innings (6.44 ERA) that spanned six starts from May 16 to June 12.
Issues with command plagued Santana early in his last start against the Phillies on Friday. He allowed two runs, issued two free passes and threw 40 pitches, 22 of them for strikes in the first two innings. But he settled, only needing 44 to get through the next three frames.
He didn't have a clean sixth inning, as the first three batters he faced reached base and one of them, aboard via an error by Freddie Freeman, scored. But Santana was able to get out of the jam by recording three straight outs.
Miami: Striving to relax and having fun
Losing is never fun. So the challenge when a team has gone through some ups and downs is to relax and have a good time.
The Marlins have a youthful team, and they are going through a big stretch before the end of July to see if they are in or out of playoff contention.
"The mindset is, we're trying to win ballgames," Redmond said. "At the same time, too, if we put too much pressure on ourselves, we play tight. And we don't play as aggressively as we can. Guys tend to play not to fail. That's not the way we want to play."
That mindset has proven to be beneficial for the Marlins, seeing as they've won the first two games of this four-game set. The Giants held them to seven runs and 24 hits over the weekend, but Miami has already scored nine times and recorded 20 hits against the Braves.
Atlanta: Justin Upton on a tear
July has been good to Justin Upton. The 26-year-old has raised his average 13 points since July 4, when he ended the night at .271.
A two-out homer to left field in the third inning of Tuesday's game was Upton's 20th hit in his last 15 contests. In that span, he's recorded eight multi-hit games, walked six times and scored 11 runs.
Among NL East rivals, Upton is hitting the Marlins the best. He has a .294 average (69-for-235) in 62 games against Miami.
• In his first full game since July 12 against the Mets, Marlins infielder Donovan Solano knocked a career-high four hits and walked once on Tuesday.
• The Braves' Jordan Schafer came in as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game. He tried to steal second after Steve Cishek's first pitch to Chris Johnson but was thrown out by catcher Jeff Mathis. It was just the second time this season that Schafer, who has 15 stolen bases, has been caught stealing.
Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.