The Braves need to get back in gear this weekend. They have struggled since the All-Star Break, but Chipper Jones should be back as early as Friday and the pitching matchups are heavily in our favor. Four teams -- the Phillies, Braves, Diamondbacks and Giants -- are essentially fighting for three playoff spots. Assuming the Braves can take care of business, they're guaranteed to gain a game on at least one of those teams, if not two.
The Phillies are playing four games in San Francisco and the DBacks will be hosting the Dodgers in Phoenix for three games. Scoreboard watching season is now in session!
All this aside, the most important part of this weekend is ultimately for the Braves to win. A sweep would be thinking big, but with our three best pitchers on the mound and (hopefully) having Chipper back in the lineup it is certainly doable.
Let's take a closer look at our NL East foes:
He's healthy and ready to do damage:
#5 / Third Base / New York Mets
Dec 20, 1982
|2011 - David Wright||51||197||33||53||11||0||8||31||27||49||9||0||.269||.354||.447|
David Wright has missed a lot of the 2011 season with a back injury, but he has been on fire since coming off the disabled list two weeks ago. The All-Star third baseman has killed the Braves in recent years and has provided the Mets lineup with some punch that they desperately needed. Expect him in the lineup for all three games.
An MVP candidate?
#7 / Short Stop / New York Mets
Jun 11, 1983
|2011 - Jose Reyes||95||419||79||142||26||16||5||36||29||30||32||7||.339||.379||.513|
Remember when we compared facing the Nationals in Washington DC to undergoing a colonoscopy? Facing a healthy Jose Reyes in 2011 is like undergoing three colonoscopies. The shortstop recently came off the disabled list after a calf injury and has not missed a beat since returning. His speed disrupts the game more than just about any player in baseball and he has tormented Atlanta this season.
Friday, 7:10EDT - Tim Hudson vs. R.A. Dickey
|2011 - Tim Hudson||10-7||22||22||1||1||0||0||141.1||123||59||52||9||35||104||3.31||1.12|
|2011 - R.A. Dickey||5-9||23||22||1||0||0||0||140.2||144||65||59||15||41||95||3.77||1.32|
Saturday, 7:10EDT - Tommy Hanson vs. Jon Niese
|2011 - Tommy Hanson||11-6||21||21||0||0||0||0||126.2||98||48||45||13||44||137||3.20||1.12|
|2011 - Jon Niese||10-8||25||22||0||0||0||0||134.2||141||69||59||11||39||116||3.94||1.34|
Sunday, 1:10EDT - Jair Jurrjens vs. Dillon Gee
|2011 - Jair Jurrjens||12-4||20||20||2||1||0||0||133.2||118||41||39||11||35||85||2.63||1.14|
|2011 - Dillon Gee||10-3||20||17||1||0||0||0||107.1||86||48||44||8||43||70||3.69||1.20|
Stat of the series:
Dan Uggla has a 25-game hitting streak. He is 0-for-15 in his career against Dickey. Will the streak continue?
As mentioned before, this is a big series for the Braves. A series victory is a must and a sweep would be excellent. I see the club taking the series and taking a tough loss on Sunday afternoon.