(Sports Network) – The Braves went into their last series hoping to make up ground in the National League East race. Three losses later, the club is facing the reality that its path to the playoffs is through the wild card.
Atlanta hopes to pad its lead for that position today as it visits the New York Mets for a makeup doubleheader stemming from a rain-filled visit a few weekends ago.
The Braves head to Citi Field after getting swept in three games at Philadelphia to begin the week. It marked the first time this season Atlanta was swept in a series of at least three games and dropped the squad 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Phillies in the division.
Atlanta tried to salvage Wednesday’s finale, but saw Philadelphia pinch-hitter Ross Gload come through with a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth in a 3-2 defeat.
Though their shot at an NL East title is fading, the Braves do still lead the wild card by 6 1/2 games over the Cardinals.
“You can’t walk away from it thinking you played bad or you gave it to them, nothing like that,” Atlanta’s Chipper Jones said on his team’s website. “They just beat us in a really good ballgame. You kind of think, once it gets to be 2-2, because they have the last at-bat, they’re going to break through. We’ll take our spanking and try to win a doubleheader tomorrow in New York.”
The Braves are making the trip to New York after seeing games on Aug. 27 and 28 wiped out due to Hurricane Irene. Mike Minor gets the ball for Atlanta in the first game looking to win a fifth straight decision.
Minor has not lost since May 31 and had won three straight starts before a tough-luck no-decision versus the Dodgers on Saturday. The right-hander gave up just one run over six innings while striking out seven, but Atlanta lost, 2-1, in 10 innings.
Minor is 4-2 with a 4.09 earned run average in 11 starts this year and the 23- year-old has not factored into a pair of starts versus the Mets this year while allowing nine runs over 10 innings.
Right-hander Julio Teheran will start the nightcap for the Braves after going 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 25 games with Triple-A Gwinnett this year.
The 20-year-old did make the first two starts of his major league career back in May, but did not record a victory. He got a loss in his debut on May 7 at the Phillies, allowing three runs over 4 2/3 innings, before getting a no- decision in Arizona on May 18. Teheran yielded a pair of runs over four innings.
New York will be giving one of its pitchers his first major league start today as Chris Schwinden takes the hill in Game 1.
The 24-year-old is getting the start after going 8-8 with a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts with Triple-A Buffalo. He struck out 134 over 145 2/3 innings with 48 walks.
“It’s just a real honor to be here,” the right-handed Schwinden told New York’s website. “It’s a real shocker.”
Dillon Gee will follow Schwinden as he looks to put some recent struggles behind him. The right-hander has allowed 15 runs over his last three outings and is coming off a no-decision in Washington on Saturday.
Gee gave up six runs on eight hits, including three homers, over five innings before getting taken off the hook in his team’s 8-7 loss. One of the homers he allowed was to Nats starter Tom Milone, who was making his major league debut.
The 25-year-old is 12-5 with a 4.48 ERA this year, including a 2-0 mark and 2.49 ERA in four starts versus the Braves. Atlanta’s Dan Uggla is just 2- for-11 off him, while Jose Constanza, Alex Gonzalez and Jason Heyward have all taken Gee deep.
The Mets have won 10 of their last 13 games and are coming off yesterday’s 1-0 win over the Marlins. Lucas Duda drove in a run with a double in the first inning and R. A. Dickey hurled seven scoreless innings to get the win.
“His job is to keep us in the game and do the best he can to give our team a chance to win and he’s done that all year,” said Mets manager Terry Collins.
Dickey scattered four hits and three walks.
New York has won seven of 13 over Atlanta this season.