Atlanta (87-67) at Miami (70-84)

Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL, US
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Tue Sep 20, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves seem to be falling apart at a less than opportune time.

After failing to close out the opener of this three-game road set, the stumbling Braves try to regroup against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night.

The Braves (87-67), who seemed to have the NL wild card all but secured with an 8 1/2-game lead Sept. 4, sit just 2 1/2 ahead of St. Louis following another disappointing defeat. Atlanta suffered its seventh loss in 10 games Monday, falling 6-5 as closer Craig Kimbrel(notes) surrendered a two-run, walk off homer to Omar Infante(notes) with two outs in the ninth.

Kimbrel retired the first two batters before Chipper Jones(notes) lost Emilio Bonifacio’s(notes) chopper to third in the lights, allowing Infante to come to the plate.

“You play baseball in a football stadium, I guess that happens from time to time, but it’s just extremely bad timing,” Jones said. “It’s a pretty helpless feeling when the game should be over and I had no clue where the ball was when it bounced.”

The Braves, who had taken the previous six meetings at Sun Life Stadium this season, have dropped 10 of 12 on the road - including a season worst-tying four straight. The Cardinals recorded their 10th win in 12 games Monday and begin a six-game homestand Tuesday against New York.

“We’ve got to win,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “There’s no sense in scoreboard watching. It’s nice, we’ve got to win our games, our series, and keep going forward.”

Gonzalez may choose to pitch around Mike Stanton(notes) in this one after the slugging right fielder hit home runs No. 33 and 34 on Monday, tying Miguel Cabrera(notes) for second place on the Marlins’ single-season list.

“We’re out of it and it’s easy to look toward the offseason already, but we still have eight games left,” said Stanton, who is eight homers away from matching Gary Sheffield’s(notes) franchise record set in 1996.

“If you shut it down now that can put a big imprint on your season. … This was good to get that turned around and at least be the spoilers.”

Anibal Sanchez(notes) (8-8, 3.62 ERA), who has thrived since giving up five runs over a career worst-tying 1 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Atlanta on Aug. 10, will look to add to the Braves misery.

After matching a career high with 11 strikeouts en route to throwing a one-hitter during a 3-0 victory at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, Sanchez yielded two runs and four hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss at MLB-leading Philadelphia on Thursday. He is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA in his last six starts, limiting opponents to a .199 average.

The right-hander, though, is 0-4 with a 6.39 ERA in his last five outings against Atlanta.

He’s had a rough time versus Martin Prado(notes), who is 10 for 24 (.417) with a homer lifetime against him. Dan Uggla(notes) has also taken Sanchez deep, going 2 for 4.

Uggla, who went 2 for 4 with a homer Monday, has gone 13 for 40 (.325) with four home runs and 13 RBIs over the last 10 games against his former team.

The Braves counter with rookie Randall Delgado(notes) (0-1, 3.24), who hasn’t received a decision over his last two starts despite recording a 1.80 ERA. The right-hander gave up one run and four hits in five innings of Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Florida.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Delgado ARI vs. A. Sánchez DET
1-1 Record 8-9
2.83 ERA 3.67
18 K 202
14 BB 64
1.23 WHIP 1.28


Tuesday, Sep 20