A Much Needed Win

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

By Bill Shanks
Fox Sports South.com
September 15, 2010

The Braves are now two games out of first place in the National League East after being shut out by Livan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals Tuesday night.

Bringing back memories of the historic playoff game in 1997, Hernandez blanked the Braves and cruised to an easy victory. Atlanta managed just five hits against Hernandez and reliever Sean Burnett, who finished out the ninth inning.

It was the second straight night the Braves had only five hits against the Nationals.

Atlanta is now 6-8 in the month of September and 12-14 since August 19. They had a 2.5 game lead that day, but the Phillies are now the team with the lead in the division.

The Braves are not in a position now where they can play under .500. They are even at the .500 mark in this homestand, winning three and losing three, with the finale Wednesday afternoon at Turner Field.

Back on July 21 the Braves were seven games up on the Phillies, who were 48-46 at the time and had just lost four games in a row.

But since then the Phillies have gone 37-15 and taken over the division they have won the last three seasons.

The Braves have got to turn it around and quickly. They are in a position where they must win the series finale Wednesday afternoon. The Nationals are not a very good team, so losing a series to them this late in the season would be a catastrophe.

Rookie Mike Minor (3-0, 5.63) will take the mound for Atlanta in the matinee. Lefty John Lannan (7-7, 4.69) will pitch for the Nationals. SportSouth starts the coverage at 12:00 pm ET. Chip Caray and Joe Simpson will call all the action.

While the focus has mainly been on the Phillies, it might also be wise to keep an eye on San Francisco and Colorado. They are the teams behind the Braves in the wildcard race, and they are playing very well.

The Braves will have a day off Thursday and travel to New York to start a three-game series Friday with the Mets at Citi Field.

Philadelphia finishes its series in Florida against the Marlins. Roy Halladay (18-10, 2.44) will pitch for the Phillies against former Braves pitcher Jorge Sosa, who is 2-2 with a 5.82 ERA this season for Florida.

The Phillies are also off Thursday before hosting Washington this weekend.

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