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Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson, right, celebrates his home run as he passes Chicago Cubs' Willson Contreras during a baseball game Monday, June 24, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Young)

The Braves will try to finish the first half of the season strong with a three-game series against the Florida Marlins at SunTrust Park. 

Atlanta (51-36) entered Thursday's game with a 5½-game lead in the National League East, and a chance to increase it in its series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins (32-52) were in last place, 17½ games back of the Braves.

As the teams reach the All-Star break, former Marietta High School standout Dansby Swanson is in the midst of a hot streak. Over the last week, he is hitting .455 and has raised his average to .269 on the season.

Ronald Acuna Jr. is nearly as hot, hitting .360 over the last week, as he prepares to compete in Monday night's Home Run Derby in Cleveland and the All-Star Game the next night.

Catcher Jorge Alfaro, third baseman Brian Anderson and second baseman Sterling Castro have become the run producers in the Miami lineup. Alfaro is hitting .259 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs, while Anderson is leading the team with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs and hitting .253. Castro is only hitting .231, but he has driven in 33 runs 

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.99 ERA) will open the series in search of a quality start. The second half of June was not good to the veteran right-hander, as he has given up 22 hits and 15 runs in his last 11 1/3 innings.

Teheran is expected to face Jordan Yamamoto (3-0, 2.35). It will be the rookie's fifth career start and first against the Braves.

Max Fried (9-3, 4.04) is expected to start Saturday. The young left-hander has not pitched more than six innings since the beginning of May, and he has seen his ERA gradually increase from 2.97 on May 17 to 4.04.

The Marlins are scheduled to throw Caleb Smith (3-4, 3.41). Smith will be coming off the injured list to make his first start since June 6.

Dallas Keuchel (1-2, 4.01) is expected to make the final start before the break, while rhe Marlins are expected to send Trevor Richards (3-9, 4.02). Richards has not won since June 2, but the last time he faced the Braves, he threw seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball. 

PROMOTIONS

Friday is Walter Banks bobblehead night. The Braves will help celebrate their longtime usher and ambassador, with the first 15,000 fans in the gates getting a bobblehead.

Following the game will be the Braves' regular Friday night fireworks display. 

On Saturday, Elevation, a U2 tribute band, will play on the Georgia Pavilion stage as part of the Plaza Concert Series. The concert will last from 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Gates will also open at 1:20 p.m., nearly three hours before game time, so fans can watch batting practice. 

Alumni Sunday will kick off the final day before the All-Star break, with Mark Lemke, Chris Chambliss and Tommy Gregg appearing at the Georgia Power Pavilion from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. A game ticket is required.

The first 5,000 children ages 14-and-under through the gates will receive an Braves lunchbox. Following the game, children will have an opportunity to run the bases. 

ON THE AIR

All three games can be seen on Fox Sports South. Friday's broadcast will begin at 7 p.m., with Saturday's at 4 p.m. and Sunday's at 1 p.m. The games can be heard on 680 AM The Fan and Rock 100.5 FM.

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