The Cardiac Braves continued to (mostly) live up to their nickname during a series win against the Nationals this week. Jason Heyward gave Atlanta their major league-leading 21st last at bat win with a two-out single in the bottom of the 9th on Wednesday. A day earlier, the Braves stormed back from a 2-0 deficit with 10 runs after the 5th inning. The team had managed just one hit through 5 innings before their three inning offensive explosion. Derek Lowe was roughed up on Thursday and despite 7 hits, the Braves again had problems driving runners in (1-9 with RISP), as the Nationals prevented the sweep with a 6-2 victory. Oh, and Matt Diaz’s boneheaded base running certainly didn’t help either.
Outside of Lowe being tagged for 4 earned runs over 7 innings on Thursday, the Braves stellar pitching continued. Mike Minor picked up his first career major league victory in his Turner Field debut on Tuesday with a solid 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 2 BB performance while Tim Hudson held the Nats to 2 runs over 7 innings on Wednesday.
While the pitchers excel, Martin Prado has been on a tear since his return from the DL. The Braves second baseman went 6-12 with 2 2B, 3 RBI and 4 R while hitting third and playing third. If he's still feeling discomfort in his pinky, he's certainly not letting it affect his play on the field. On the opposite side spectrum, Eric Hinske continues his August slump and is now hitting .094 (3-32) this month. But, with perfect timing, Derrek Lee will slide into the first base position on Friday at Wrigley Field. Lee’s a career .308/.388/.577 hitter among the ivy, so here’s hoping he manages to leave Chicago with a bang.
The Braves will be facing the Cubs for the first time this season since opening week for a three-game series in Chicago. This will be an important week (they follow with 3 games on the road against the Rockies) as Atlanta holds just a 2.5 game lead over the Phillies, who will be playing their next 7 games at Citizens Bank Park. Jurrjens, Hanson and Minor will match-up against Dempster, Gorzelanny and Wells.