• Exclusives

    Braves drop series to Dodgers, look to gain ground vs Nats

    Going into the series with the Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves were 4 games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals. Going into the 3-game set with Washington, the Braves are now 5 games behind the Nats.

    For whatever reason, the Atlanta bats just didn’t come through against the Dodgers. On Saturday night, the Braves went a ridiculous 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Sunday they only put 3 hits on the board. As streaky as this team is, perhaps it is no surprise that their offense is streaky, too.

    Ben Sheets had a fairly rough outing, the worst of his short stint with the Braves. It certainly could have been worse, though. Sheets became the 6th pitcher to ever allow 4 homers on 4 hits (with at least 6 innings pitched). The home runs Sheets allowed were enough for the Dodgers to get by the offensively challenged Braves.

    The story of Mike Minor’s season remains one of poor run support. Mike Minor’s line Sunday afternoon: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 pitches (64 for strikes). He pitched a great game, but received only 3 hits from his offense. Since the all-star break, Minor has been fantastic. He has a 2.23 ERA, with 31 strikeouts, 31 hits surrendered and only 4 home runs allowed in 44 2/3 innings. Yet, Minor’s record since the all-star break? 2 and 5. Minor just can’t catch a break.

    The line scores from each of the 3 games against Los Angeles, including the Civil Rights Game:

    Game 1:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
    Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 9 1
    Braves 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 4 10 1

    W: Venters (5-3 ) L: League (0-6)

    Game 2 (Civil Rights Game):

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    Dodgers 0 3 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 6 4 0
    Braves 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 5 0

    W: Harang (9-7) L: Sheets (4-3) SV: Jansen (25)

    Game 3:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    Dodgers 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 5 10 0
    Braves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0

    W: Billingsley (10-9) L: Minor (6-10)

    KEY SERIES AGAINST DIVISION-LEADING NATS BEGINS…

    Monday: Hudson (12-4, 3.59) vs. Zimmermann (9-7, 2.38)

    Tuesday: Maholm (11-7, 3.39) vs. Strasburg (14-5, 2.91)

    Wednesday: Medlen (4-1, 2.03) vs. Detwiler (7-5, 3.25)

    Some interesting stats for the upcoming series: Tim Hudson has won each of his last 6 decisions, and the team is 8-0 in his last 8 starts dating back to July 6th. Additionally, Huddy is 8-1 with a 4.01 ERA in the 12 games he has started following a Braves loss this season. He has come through big time for the Braves when they have most needed a win. Atlanta is 10-2 in those games Hudson has started on the heels of a loss.

    Kris Medlen is solidifying his place in the rotation. His 3-0 record with a 1.05 ERA in four starts since moving from the bullpen is going to be hard to ignore when the Braves are ready to return to a 5-man rotation. Medlen’s outing Wednesday will likely determine once and for all that he belongs in the rotation and will be there well into the playoffs.

    The Nationals have won 12 of their last 15 games and a remarkable 22 of their last 29 games. By comparison, the Braves are 28-12 since July 5th.

    The Braves and Nationals get underway tonight at 7:05 (EST) and will be the featured MLB.TV free game.

    Before you go, have a listen to the latest Southern Fried Baseball podcast where Kent Covington talks about Atlanta’s 6-man rotation.

    Tara Rowe is an independent historian and beat writer for BravesWire.com. Follow Tara on Twitter @framethepitch" href="https://twitter.com/#!/framethepitch">@framethepitch.