The Braves end up splitting the series with the Cardinals after losing 7-3 Sunday night. It was a frustrating night as the Braves rapped out 11 hits but only managed 3 runs. The Cardinals offense was led by Albert Pujols who went 2-5 with two solo shots. Brendan Ryan was the other culprit for the Cardinals going 2-5 as well with a two-run triple in the 6th inning off Peter Moylan.
Brendan Ryan was a thorn in the Braves side all weekend. Ryan went 8-for-17 in the four game series with 5 runs scored and 4 RBIs. He did all this hitting from the 9th spot in the order. Ryan raised his average from .218 to .226 during the series. Pujols smacked three homers in the series as well.
Atlanta’s offense was nothing short of frustrating. They went 2-10 with runners in scoring position and lined out several times. Heyward continued his hot hitting and is further entrenching himself as the top candidate for Rookie of the Year. Tim Hudson got knocked around the second consecutive start and has saw his ERA has jumped from 2.30 to 2.62 in that span.
The Braves have not won a series after taking three out of four from the Mets and are just 5-7 on the month. The Braves really can’t afford to lose series’ against teams like Florida, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. I say St. Louis because they have really struggled lately. Still, they are a talented team capable of putting a big streak together.
Atlanta is now one game back of the Phillies in the NL East and they hold a one game lead in the Wild Card over San Diego and San Francisco.
The Braves (82-62) stay at home tonight and open a three game series with the Nationals (60-83). The Nationals have given Atlanta problems all year long. The Braves are just 6-6 this year against the Nationals. Derek Lowe will be on the mound for Atlanta and will face RHP Yunesky Maya, who is making his second career start. Maya debuted last Sunday against the Mets allowing 4 runs in 5 innings while taking the loss.
The Braves desperately need a sweep. I’m not sure taking two out of three will cut it now. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. CST and will air on SportsSouth.