So the season series with the Mets is completely tied up at 8-8 after the Braves have dropped 4 in a row. All that’s left for salvation with this season is winning this game and hopefully the next game vs the Mets to at least keep it even. I am already mailing in this season and looking forward to next year. Braves need 2 new starting pitchers, a healthy Dotel and Gonzalez in the bullpen, and a new center fielder that can hit for average. So…. good luck.
Time is of the essence for Braves
By Jeff Lutz / MLB.com
The Braves stayed afloat in the National League East in the middle of the season because of their success against the first-place Mets. Atlanta’s downfall in the standings can be attributed to their recent struggles against New York.
Atlanta won seven of the first nine games against the Mets this season, a record that helped the Braves never fall more than 4 1/2 games out of first place before Aug. 18.
But with their win on Monday in the first game of a three-game set at Shea Stadium, the Mets have now won five of the past six contests against the Braves, and Atlanta sits 9 1/2 games behind New York in the NL East and five games out of the NL Wild Card standings.
Offensive deficiencies have kept the Braves from repeating their early-season success against New York. In the past four games, all Mets wins, the Braves have scored just six total runs.
It certainly didn’t help that on Monday the Braves were without sluggers Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones. Chipper strained his right oblique during batting practice, and Andruw was scratched from the lineup because of an illness.
“The last four games against the Mets, we’ve averaged just a shade over one run a game,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “You’re not going to win a bunch of them scoring less than two runs.”
Even though Atlanta’s chances to win the NL East are all but fading, the Braves still have a chance to make up ground on the four teams they’re trailing for the NL Wild Card. Many of those teams were idle on Monday, but the Braves missed their opportunity to make up at least half a game.
Instead, the Braves are looking at missing the postseason for the second straight year, a dubious fate they hadn’t reached previously since 1989-90. Atlanta isn’t giving up hope, though.
“We’re not giving up,” Cox said. “We know we have to win, and that’s the only way we can look at it now.”
ATL: RHP Buddy Carlyle (8-6, 5.21 ERA)
Carlye exited after just 1 2/3 innings and 45 pitches in his start against the Philies on Sept. 4, the shortest start of his career. Since Aug. 12, Carlyle is 1-3 in five starts with an 8.57 ERA.
NYM: RHP Orlando Hernandez (9-4, 3.32 ERA)
Hernandez hasn’t lost since July 4, and he returns to the rotation after missing with a start with a right foot injury. In 10 starts since Independence Day, El Duque is 5-0 with a 3.45 ERA.
Player to watch
Both Joneses are the only Braves with any extended success against Herandez, but their status for Tuesday is uncertain. Second baseman Kelly Johnson has two hits, including a homer, in five career at-bats against El Duque.