Braves officially eliminated from playoffs

It's over! Not that it comes as a big surprise, but the Atlanta Braves have been eliminated from the playoffs after the Mets swept a weekend series at Turner Field. The clincher came with yesterday's 10-2 rout at the hands of Jacob deGrom and the Mets. DeGrom gave up three hits and one earned run while striking out ten Atlanta batters in six innings before a trio of relievers finished the job. The Braves managed just four hits, two of them by Chris Johnson, in another futile display of offense. The Pirates will be in Atlanta for a four-game series beginning tonight. Aaron Harang is expected to make the start on the mound for Atlanta, likely his last as a Brave. The veteran isn't expected to be in a Braves uniform next season. Pittsburgh and San Francisco are deadlocked for the two NL wildcard spots after the weekend, sharing a 4.5 game lead over third place Milwaukee. In the American League, New York's Brian McCann hit a pair of home runs yesterday in the Yankee's win, but it could be too little, too late for the Bronx Bombers, who are on the verge of elimination for the playoffs, needing to make up a 4.5 game deficit and overtake four teams to qualify as a wildcard team.

Braves beat Nats' subs 3-1

Washington manager Matt Williams put a lineup of reserves on the field last night against Alex Wood and the Braves. Atlanta took advantage, barely, in a 3-1 win. Wood pitched his usual six innings, leaving with a 3-1 lead after the Braves scored three times in the bottom of the sixth while Wood was still the pitcher of record. Phil Gosselin had three of Atlanta's seven hits and scored one of the three runs. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons left the game with an ankle injury. Catcher Christian Bethancourt had two RBI for the Braves, who are off today before hosting the Mets over the weekend.

Strrep throat? Kidney stones? Is Gattis really unable to play?

So, just what is Evan Gattis' physical problem? Earlier, team doctors said he was suffering from strep throat, the reason for his being left out of the Braves lineup. Yesterday, the diagnosis was changed to kidney stones! Many Atlanta fans are wondering just what is going on with the Braves and their best slugger. He hasn't played in two weeks, and previously missed four games in May with a viral infection, and a total of 17 games during June and July because of a bulging thoracic disk in his back. Gattis leads Braves regulars with a .507 slugging percentage.

Nats, Strasburg beat Braves 4-2

The Braves lost their fourth straight game and eighth in the past ten last night, losing to Stephen Strasburg for the first time. Strasburg, who was 0-4 in nine career starts against Atlanta, pitched seven innings of shutout ball to pick up his 12th win of the season in the Nationals' 4-2 win at Turner Field. The Braves scored their only two runs of the game in the ninth inning off a pair of Washington relievers including former Brave teammate Rafael Soriano. Doubles by Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton and Christian Bettancourt's single accounted for Atlanta's runs, although the Braves out-hit the Nationals 9-6. The season-long nemesis, failure to hit with runners in scoring position, was evident again last night when the Braves were just 2-for-12 in that situation, both hits coming in the ninth inning.

Will there be a 20-game winner in ML B?

Will there be a 20-game winner in major league baseball this year? Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers has the best chance. Kershaw has 19 wins, and the Dodgers have 12 games remaining. With likely two more starts, it's a pretty good bet that Kershaw will get 20 wins. Three more National Leaguers have 18 wins, including Madison Baumgarner of the giants, Jonny Cueto of the Reds and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. They, too, should get two more starts in the regular season. In the American League, a 20-game winner is unlikely. Jared Weaver of the Angels has 17 wins to lead the league, and he likely won't get enough starts to reach 20 wins. Kershaw also leads the majors with an ERA of 1.70. David Price, now with the Tigers, leads the AL, and the majors, with 250 strikeouts. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals has 230 to lead the NL. That includes 7 in last night's 4-2 win over the Braves. The Braves' Craig Kimbrel has lost his saves lead in the NL, thanks to the Braves late season swoon that has left Kimbrel with virtually no save opportunities.

Time to shut down the vets, play the youngsters?

A day after Julio Teheran lost 3-2 in a complete game in which he didn't give up an earned run, the Braves pitching collapsed in yesterday's series finale against the Rangers. Mike Minor couldn’t get out of the fifth inning in which he and David Hale combined to give up six runs. The Rangers went on to complete the sweep with a lopsided 10-3 win. Atlanta didn't score until Ryan Doumit hit a seventh inning solo home run. The Braves score their other two runs in the eighth when rookie Joey Terdoslavich drove in Emilio Bonifacio and Phil Gosselin with a double. Gosselin and Doumit each had two hits for Atlanta. Minor lost his eleventh game, and saw his ERA jump to 4.74. He has won six games.

NL's top player Stanton out for season after suffering facial fractures

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is likely out for the season after being hit in the face by a pitch form Milwaukee's Mike Feirs in the fifth inning of last night's game in Milwaukee. Stanton, the major league leader runs batten in and the NL's leader in home runs, suffered multiple facial fractures when he was hit under the left eye. Stanton actually swung at the pitch trying to get out of the way, bringing pinch hitter Reid Johnson to finish the at-bat. Feirs hit Johnson on the hand with the first pitch, emptying both benches. No punches were thrown, however. Stanton was a leading candidate for NL MVP.

Braves beat Strasburg and Nats 6-2, avoid sweep

Stephen Strasburg is one of the top pitchers in the game today. But the Washington Nationals' standout simply can't beat the Atlanta Braves. Behind Aaron Harang, the Braves beat Strasburg and the Nationals 6-2 last night to avoid a sweep at the hands of the NL East leaders. Strasburg actually pitched better last night than in his previous starts this year against the Braves. He went six innings, allowing seven hits and three runs while striking out eight. But overall this season, Strasburg is 0-3 in four starts with an ERA of 7.17 In his career, Strasburg is 0-4 in nine starts against Atlanta. He was overshadowed last night by Atlanta veteran Aaron Harang, who pick up his 11th win with a 7-inning outing in which the only run he gave up was unearned. He struck out nine Nats, and didn't allow a walk. B.J. Upton broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run off Strasburg in the fifth inning. Justin Upton had three RBI and Jason Heyward had three hits.

Offensive woes continue for Braves in 2-1 loss to Nationals

has become all too familiar to Braves fans, another night of futility at the plate in a 2-1 loss to the NL East leading Washington Nationals in the opener of a three games series at Turner Field. Hard-luck starter Mike Minor allowed just one run through six innings, but trailed 1-0. A seventh-inning run was charged to Minor, who opened the inning but didn't retire a batter. Trailing 2-0 in the eighth, Atlanta finally got on the board when pinch hitter Ryan Doumit doubled and pinch runner Jose Constanza scored on a Freddie Freeman single. Freeman and Jason Heyward, who drew a walk ahead of the Freeman single, were on base when Justin Upton popped to first base to end the threat with the tying run in scoring position. Freeman had two of Atlanta's four hits. Doumit and Tommy LaStella had the others.

Another Braves' minor leaguer suspended for drug violations

The problems in the Atlanta Braves organization reached into the minor league system yesterday when 21-year old outfielder Justin Black was given a 50-game suspension by the commissioner's office after the outfielder tested positive for an amphetamine. Such use is a violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. Black, a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft, has struggled in his two years at the rookie-ball level. Braves low-Single A second baseman Mike Reynolds drew a 50-game suspension in May. In July, two 20-year jold right handed pitchers playing in the Dominican summer league, each drew 72-game suspensions, the equivalent of a full DSL season.

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