When Brandon Beachy last saw the Miami Marlins, the Braves right-hander was at the height of his powers. On May 17 of last year, Beachy struck out six Miami batters on the way to tossing the first shutout of his career, a five-hitter at Turner Field that lowered his ERA to 1.33 eight starts into the season.
In a month's time, Beachy was preparing for Tommy John surgery after he had exited a start in Baltimore with right elbow discomfort, cutting short what had all the makings of a breakout season.
Beachy will face the Marlins on Friday night in his third start since his return from the long and trying process of rehabbing from Tommy John, looking to build on his performance in a 5-4 win over the Phillies last weekend. After surrendering seven runs on eight hits to the Rockies in his first game back, Beachy allowed three earned runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings on Saturday but did not factor into the decision.
"The thing with Tommy John is you do all the rehab and you do all that stuff," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the game. "But in the back of your mind, you're wondering if it's going to hold up. But that just takes some time. I think you're going to see him get better and better."
Jacob Turner is the next pitcher tasked with slowing down a Braves offense that has averaged 5.92 runs per game during Atlanta's 13-game winning streak. The Marlins right-hander has turned in three straight quality starts, but he will take the mound searching for his first win since the All-Star break after striking out six over six innings in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Indians. The Marlins have averaged a paltry 3.17 runs of support in Turner's 12 starts this season, magnifying the 22-year-old's mistakes amid a four-start winless stretch.
"I felt like I threw the ball well," Turner said on Saturday. "I went back and looked at the pitches; there were a lot of close pitches. But there were a lot of walks and a couple of 3-0 counts I came back from, but overall, I just battled."
Braves: Heyward returns to lineup after odd neck ailment
• Jason Heyward left Tuesday's game after his at-bat in the first inning with a neck issue that flared up when he fouled off the second pitch of the game. But the Braves right fielder was back at the top of the order Wednesday after waking up pain-free without the headache that he developed without warning after taking the swing.
"I've never had that before," Heyward said. "I'm glad we got it [addressed] last night and I feel better."
Heyward showed no ill effects of the injury in Wednesday night's 6-3 win over the Nationals, going 2-for-5 with a two-out single that drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning.
• Outfielder Jordan Schafer could be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday. Schafer has been sidelined since July 3 with a stress fracture in his right foot and has appeared in six Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Gwinnett. Through Wednesday's action, he is 2-for-23 for Gwinnett.
Marlins: Offensive woes continue
Wednesday night's 4-2 loss to the Pirates further underscored Miami's myriad struggles to score runs. After collecting just one extra-base hit out of 11 total hits in a 4-3 loss the previous night, the Marlins went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and once again finished with one extra-base hit out of seven total hits.
"Singles are great, but what does it really do if there is nobody in scoring position?" first baseman Logan Morrison said before Wednesday's game. "It prolongs the innings, makes the pitcher throw a couple of more pitches. All that matters is you scoring more runs than the other team."
It was more of the same Thursday, as the Marlins had nine hits, but just two extra-base hits. They rank last in baseball in hits, runs, doubles, home runs and OPS.
• Friday night's contest is the first of 10 games the teams will play against each other over the final two months of the regular season. The Braves hold a 6-3 edge in the season series.
• The Braves are the only NL East team with a positive run differential this season, bumping their margin to plus-121 with Wednesday's 6-3 win over Washington.
• Justin Ruggiano made his first start since July 22 on Thursday, getting the nod in center field to give Jake Marisnick a breather. Marisnick, a 22-year-old rookie, had started 15 straight games in center since being called up from Double-A Jacksonville.
• Christian Yelich hit his first MLB home run on Thursday, one of three hits in a game that extended his hitting streak to a career-best eight games.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.