Phillies-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

The slumping Atlanta Braves haven't been able to get anything going at the plate of late. Finding their stroke could prove all the more difficult if Justin Upton can't play.

With Upton's status unclear, the Braves try to avoid another three-game home sweep against the last-place Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Atlanta (72-67) has been outscored 15-1 over its last four games after falling 4-0 on Tuesday. The Braves, who were no-hit by Cole Hamels and three relievers the day before, are 1 for their last 23 with runners in scoring position.

"We're a talented club offensively," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team hasn't scored in 24 innings. "A very talented club. We can put up numbers offensively. And to get shut out back to back days and three out of four days and only score one run ... it's mind-boggling."

Tuesday's loss may have also come at a cost for Atlanta after Upton departed with a bruised left triceps. The slugging left fielder, listed as day to day, was hit by a pitch in the first inning and remained in the game until the sixth.

Upton is batting .307 with seven homers and a major league-best 27 RBIs since Aug. 8.

Atlanta has dropped six of eight home games against Philadelphia this year, including all three meetings June 16-18.

While the Braves are stumbling, the Phillies (64-74) have averaged 5.0 runs in winning nine of 12. Kyle Kendrick followed the first combined no-hitter in team history with seven strong innings, combining with two relievers on a three-hitter Tuesday.

The Phillies haven't tossed three consecutive shutouts since recording four in a row Aug. 13-16, 1969.

Philadelphia will try to do just that behind rookie David Buchanan, who is 0-2 with a 3.04 ERA in his last four starts. He allowed one run over six innings but didn't receive a decision in Friday's 4-1 road loss to the New York Mets. The right-hander was removed for a pinch-hitter in the seventh despite throwing a season-low 64 pitches.

Buchanan (6-7, 4.03 ERA) has shined away from home, posting a 2.16 ERA over a five-start stretch. He allowed three runs, five hits and a season-high five walks over five innings in his only appearance against the Braves, a 3-2 home defeat June 29.

Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.53) will try to get Atlanta back on track. The right-hander has gone 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA over his last nine starts while striking out 59 over 58 1-3 innings.

Santana walked the bases loaded in the first inning before settling in Friday, yielding one over six innings in a 5-2 win over Miami. He's gone 0-1 despite a 1.38 ERA over his last two outings while receiving a combined two runs of support.

Santana has won his last two starts against the Phillies behind a 3.55 ERA. Marlon Byrd is 6 for 36 with 12 strikeouts in their matchups and Jimmy Rollins is 1 for 11.

Philadelphia's Ben Revere, 4 for 8 with five RBIs and two stolen bases over the last two days, is a career .347 hitter against the Braves. Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs on Tuesday, giving him seven in his last eight games.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is mired in a 1-for-15 slump versus the Phillies and is batting just .245 with one RBI over a 16-game stretch overall.

What to Read Next