After getting swept in a three game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Atlanta Braves came back with a vengeance at home against the Washington Nationals, completing a three game sweep on September 16 by the score of 5-1. Mike Minor picked up his ninth win of the year, while Gio Gonzalez had his eighth loss.
It is hard for me to say that the Braves have a chance at catching the Nationals for the division title this year, but with the way the starting pitching has been going of late, if Washington slips up down the stretch sort of like the way Atlanta did a year ago anything could happen. While Kris Medlen has been on fire of late, so too has Mike Minor, who went six solid innings against the Nationals and gave up only one run on five hits to go along with three strikeouts as well. Over his past 18 innings pitched (three starts) Minor has given up only one run while striking out 18 batters as well. Mike has been inconsistent throughout the entire year, though, going on stretches like this where he looks fantastic only to go through more stretches where he gets roughed up. He is certainly peaking at the right time for the Braves, but we will have to wait and see if he can keep up this sort of consistency heading into October.
With Brian McCann missing games of late due to shoulder and hamstring injuries, the Braves really need someone to step it up and provide some solid hitting in the middle of the lineup alongside Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward, and it finally looks as though Dan Uggla is starting to rebound. Uggla went 1 for 3 in the game against the Nationals with an important two run single in the seventh inning to break the game open. He now has at least one hit in eight out of his last 10 games and is hitting .279 for the month of September, which doesn't sound all that great until one realizes that he was hitting as low as .115 for the month of July. If Uggla can continue to bounce back and McCann can somehow be productive I like Atlanta's chances of possibly making a deep playoff run this year.
The Atlanta Braves will look to carry their momentum into a final stretch of games against National East opponents, starting with a three game series against the Florida Marlins on September 17. Tim Hudson will be taking the mound against Wade LeBlanc, and I think it is an important start for Hudson more than anything else. He seems to be going on a stretch of starts where he pitches great, then poorly, then great, etc. and is coming off of a disappointing start against the Brewers. LeBlanc has been in and out of the rotation for the Marlins of late and is coming off of two mediocre starts in a row, so the Braves should have a good chance to get another win on the board.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan.
- Sports & Recreation
- Atlanta Braves
- Mike Minor
- Washington Nationals
- Milwaukee Brewers