Atlanta Braves Blog

The Atlanta Braves blog by David O'Brien, baseball writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Braves go for series win vs. team other than Phillies


NEW YORK -- They've won four of their past five games, and tonight the Braves play the rubber game of a series with the Mets, a Williams Perez vs. Bartolo Colon matchup that presents an opportunity for Atlanta to clinch its third series win in the past five.

Of course, the other and perhaps more relevant way to look at that is, it would give the Braves just their third series win in past 11, and the first series win in that long span against a team other than the Phillies.

In any event, the Braves are showing some life of late as they try to avoid losing 100 games and also avoid finishing in last place, two goals they all agree are important at this stage, and two goals that now seem considerably more realistic than they did a week ago. With 10 games left, the Braves  take a 61-91 record into tonight's game and have a 3 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia (57-94), the only major league team with a worse record than the Braves.

Tonight, it's the 24-year-old rookie Perez against the 42-year-old Colon, who's won all four of his starts against the Braves this season.

Perez, after going 0-6 with a 9.40 ERA in his first seven starts following a five-week DL stint for a foot contusion, has gotten back in a groove and gone 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his past three starts, with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 18 2/3 innings. That three-start stretch included two wins against the Phillies sandwiched around a no-decision Sept. 12 against the Mets, when he gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings of a Braves loss.

Perez is 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in three games (two starts) against the Mets, and in his only appearance at Citi Field he pitched a scoreless inning of relief with two hits allowed in a June 13 Braves win.

Against Perez, Travis d’Arnaud is 4-for-6 with a homer, Curtis Granderson is 3-for-6 with a homer, and Daniel Murphy is 2-for-3.

The Braves are overdue for a win against Colon, who is 4-0 with a 3.51 ERA in four starts against them this season. He’s 8-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves, including two losses in three starts in 2014. The other three starts came back in 2002, before many current Braves were born. (OK, we’re exaggerating … slightly.)

The big 40-something has had four consecutive quality starts against the Braves this season, two in April, one in June, and the other on Sept. 10 at Turner Field, where he gave up seven hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, with one walk and two strikeouts.

That last win against the Braves came in a late-season resurgence for Colon that’s seen the, uh, stocky veteran post a 4-1 record and stingy 1.21 ERA in his past six games (five starts), with 25 strikeouts and five walks in 37 1/3 innings, including two walks in 30 1/3 innings in the past five games (four starts).

He went four starts without giving up a homer before the Marlins hit two against him in his last start one week ago (Sept. 16), a loss at Citi Field that snapped his three-start winning streak. Colon allowed seven hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings in that game,

Against Colon, Nick Swisher is 7-for-15 with two homers, Freddie Freeman is 9-for-20, A.J. Pierzynski is 16-for-59 (.271) with two homers, and Nick Markakis is 9-for-41.

• A.J. finishing strong: Speaking of old guys you might expect to fade in September but aren’t (hey, we do transitions), how ‘bout A.J. Pierzynski? He got into shouting matches  with Mets fans and was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double Tuesday night, more signs that this lion in winter isn’t prepared to go gently into that gentle offseason (we also mangle and paraphrase literary references).

Since July 4, the 38-year-old Braves catcher has hit .332 (63-for-190) with 10 doubles, two homers and a .368 OBP and .416 slugging percentage in 53 games. For the season, he’s hit .294 with 30 extra-base hits and 45 RBIs in 107 games, including a .321 average with a .352 OBP and .426 slugging percentage in 56 road games.

• Hot and not vs. Mets: With one game to go in the season series against the Mets, we can say that Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons is going to finish with a batting average well over .400 against the them this season. He has played in all 18 games between the teams and batted  a sizzling .424 (28-for-66) with six doubles, a triple, nine RBIs, four walks, four strikeouts, and a .457 OBP and .545 slugging percentage.

Teammate Jace Peterson has been extremely productive against the Mets this season, going 13-for-46 (.283) in 15 games with Braves highs in extra-base hits (eight, including two homers), runs (10) and RBIs (10), with a .375 OBP and .565 slugging percentage. Those are his highs against any team this season in extra-base hits, home runs, runs, RBIs and slugging percentage.

Also productive against the Mets this season: Pierzynski, who 15-for-43 (.349) in 11 games, and Adonis Garcia, who’s 8-for-15 with a double, homer and eight RBIs in just six games.

Meanwhile, Freddie Freeman, who in previous seasons had carved a reputation as the Braves’ biggest Mets-killer since Chipper Jones, is just 11-for-58 (.190) in 15 games against them this year, with two homers, five RBIs, eight walks, 16 strikeouts and a .288 OBP and .293 slugging percentage.

In 55 games against the Mets during the 2012-2014 seasons, Freeman hit .325 with 18 doubles, 12 homers, 51 RBIs, a .396 OBP and .580 slugging percentage.

• On the day of the Braves’ last game this season in New York, let’s close with this gem from the late, great Lou Reed, off his New York album.


The plotted lines the faulty map

That brought Columbus to New York

Betwixt between the East and West

He calls on her wearing a leather vest

The earth squeals and shudders to a halt

A diamond crucifix in his ear

Is used to help ward off the fear

That he has left his soul in someone's rented car

Inside his pants he hides a mop

To clean the mess that he has dropped

Into the life of lithesome Juliette Bell

And Romeo wanted Juliette

And Juliette wanted Romeo

And Romeo wanted Juliette

And Juliette wanted Romeo

Romeo Rodriguez squares

His shoulders and curses Jesus

Runs a comb through his black pony-tail

He's thinking of his lonely room

The sink that by his bed gives off a stink

Then smells her perfume in his eyes

And her voice was like a bell

Outside the streets were steaming

The crack dealers were dreaming

Of an Uzi someone had just scored

I betcha I could hit that light

With my one good arm behind my back

Says little Joey Diaz

Brother give me another tote

Those downtown hoods are no damn good

Those Italians need a lesson to be taught

This cop who died in Harlem

You think they'd get the warnin'

I was dancing when I saw his brains run out on the street

And Romeo had Juliette

And Juliette had her Romeo

And Romeo had Juliette

And Juliette had her Romeo

I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag

With Latin written on it that says

"It's hard to give a s*** these days"

Manhattan's sinking like a rock

Into the filthy Hudson what a shock

They wrote a book about it

They said it was like ancient Rome

The perfume burned his eyes

Holding tightly to her thighs

And something flickered for a minute

And then it vanished and was gone


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About the Author

David O'Brien has covered the Atlanta Braves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2002.