After sweeping the Mets, nobody would have imagined the Braves would in turn be swept out of Milwaukee. But it happened and all the Braves can do is move forward, shooting for a Wild Card spot.
Some interesting, sometimes aggravating things happened in Milwaukee. The Braves scored only 3 runs in 3 games. Scores from each of the 3 games add to the Braves record of having scored two or fewer runs in 14 of their previous 25 games. The offense managed 20 hits in 3 games, but went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 19 men on base. Paul Maholm has allowed 7 home runs since joining the Braves, including a 5th inning bomb to Rickie Weeks in game 3 of the series. Andrelton Simmons returned from the disabled list where he had been rehabbing a fractured pinkie only to sprain his ankle in pick-off attempt at second base in game 2 of the series. Jason Heyward hit a career best 26th home run of the season in game 3. Mike Minor struck out 8 batters in 5 2/3 innings in his start, but saw his team lose the game after a terrible outing by Jonny Venters, further bolstering Minor’s reputation as the hard luck member of the rotation.
Line scores from the 3-game set:
W: Veras (4-4) L: Venters (5-4) SV: Axford (28)
W: Estrada (3-6) L: Hudson (14-6)
W: Gallardo (15-8) L: Maholm (12-10)
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FINAL SERIES WITH RIVAL NATS…
Friday: Detwiler (9-6, 3.23) vs. Medlen (8-1, 1.64)
Saturday: Jackson (9-10, 3.85) vs. Hanson (12-8, 4.35)
Sunday: Gonzalez (19-7, 2.93) vs. Minor (8-10, 4.42)
The good news about the Braves’ season is that they have only one Monday game left and their final games come against the Marlins, Mets and Phillies. The bad news is the Phillies are currently surging. They have the ability to end Philly’s hopes for the playoffs after a miserable season that was spent without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley for a big chunk of it as well as unusually inconsistent performances by Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. The Phillies are currently 4 games back in the dual Wild Card picture.
Going into the series, the Braves are 8 1/2 games behind the 1st place Nats in the NL East. While the Nats are in Atlanta, the Braves could potentially be eliminated from NL East contention. The Braves hold a 5 1/2 game lead in the NL Wild Card race. The Nats have an 89-54 record (.622) while the Braves have a 81-63 record (.563) going into the 3-game series. The Braves won 3 of their 6 games on their road trip. The Nats won 4 of their last 6 games (3 at home, 3 on the road).
If anyone can stop the bleeding following the sweep by the Brewers, Kris Medlen can. As the savior of the rotation, Medlen has been lights out since moving from relief to starting. In his last 10 games (59 2/3 innings), Medlen has 7 wins, an 0.75 ERA, and an unreal 8 walks to counter his 58 strikeouts. Whenever Medlen is on the mound the Braves have to like their chances.
The Nats and Braves get underway at the Ted tonight at 7:35 (EST). Game 2 of the series will be featured on MLB on FOX at 4:05 (EST) Saturday. Game 3 of the series will be on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN at 8:05 (EST).
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