The Atlanta Braves have finally given up the lead in the National League wild card race, as they were defeated by the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 at home while the St Louis Cardinals rallied to punish the Houston Astros 13-6 in Texas September 27th . The Braves look like a tired and worn out club and have played like it in September, losing 4 straight, 8 of 11 and 17 of 25. 3B Chipper Jones(knee) and C Brian McCann(Oblique) are noticeably hurting while RF Jason Heyward has played the entire 2011 campaign with 1 arm. The pitching has been taxed at both the front end with injuries to RHSPs Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens forcing the team to start youngsters in vital games. Meanwhile, ineffective outings from the starters has forced Atlanta Manager Fredi Gonzalez to throw his top 3 relievers in 77 or more games. How bad is this? Three members of the Braves bullpen are among the top 6 in the National League in games pitched! Meanwhile, starting SS Alex Gonzalez reinjured his right calf in the loss after returning to the lineup Monday after missing about a week. Barring a major miracle, do not expect him in the lineup Wednesday. Veteran Jack Wilson will more than likely get the start at short.
WEDNESDAY: Real simple for the Braves, who are currently tied with the Cardinals. They play vs Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies. Tim Hudson is starting that game for Atlanta. If they win, they worst they can do is play a single elimination game vs the Cardinals in St. Louis Thursday September 29th. Meanwhile, St. Louis is playing Houston an hour after the Braves game starts. Veteran RHSP Chris Carpenter(10-9,3.59) is on the mound for the Cardinals while RHSP Brett Myers(7-13,4.31) takes the ball for Houston. Do not be thrown of by Myers poor overall record and ERA, he is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 4 September starts! Should be a very interesting night of baseball for fans in both Atlanta and St. Louis!
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