MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - INSIDE PITCH


NEW YORK -- The Atlanta Braves' inconsistent season was summarized in tidy fashion Tuesday night during a 3-2 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field.

The Braves hit into four double plays, including in the ninth inning, when left fielder Justin Upton laced a leadoff single but was erased when third baseman Chris Johnson hit into his second 5-4-3 double play of the evening.

Such starts and stops are typical for a team that has winning streaks of five games and nine games under its belt -- as well as losing streaks of seven games and eight games. The latest loss was the third in a row for the Braves, who are the definition of mediocrity at 68-64.

"We're real streaky," Johnson said. "We needed to get on a roll there, and we get on a roll the other way. It's something we've been trying to figure out all year."

The Braves' hot-and-cold ways have almost certainly cost them any chance at winning the NL East -- the Washington Nationals are 7 1/2 games ahead of the Braves -- but they are still in the thick of a wild-card race that "features" plenty of unpredictable teams. With the loss Tuesday, Atlanta fell a game behind second wild card San Francisco, pending the Giants' late game against Colorado.

"Results are results -- there's nothing we can do about it now," Upton said. "We've just got to continue to try to play better baseball."

-----------------------------------------------

MLB Team Report - Atlanta Braves - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 68-64

STREAK: Lost three

NEXT: Braves (RHP Julio Teheran, 12-9, 2.96 ERA) at Mets (RHP Zack Wheeler, 9-8, 3.48 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP Julio Teheran will look to win his third straight start when he takes the mound for the Braves on Wednesday night in the middle game of a three-game series against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Teheran earned the win last Thursday, when he allowed four hits and no walks while striking out three over six shutout innings as the Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds, 8-0. It was the fifth time in 27 starts this year Teheran has not allowed a run. He has given up two runs over 12 innings in his last two starts after surrendering 11 runs over 13 1/3 innings in his first two starts of August. Teheran is 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against the Mets. He took the loss the last time he opposed the Mets on July 8, when Teheran was tagged for five runs in 3 1/3 innings as the Braves lost, 8-3.

--LHP Jonny Venters (Tommy John surgery) has been shut down by the Braves and will visit Dr. James Andrews this week. Venters underwent the second Tommy John surgery of his career in May 2013 -- eight years after his first one -- but has battled soreness throughout the rehab process this season. Andrews performed both surgeries on Venters, who has not pitched in the major leagues since Oct. 5, 2012, when he appeared for the Braves in the National League wild-card game.

--LF Justin Upton snapped out of a mini-slump in an impressive way Tuesday, when he went 3-for-3 with an RBI double in the Braves' 3-2 loss to the Mets. Upton was 0-for-9 in his previous two games, which came immediately after a 13-game hitting streak. He is hitting .313 with six homers and 24 RBIs in August. Overall this season, Upton is hitting .292 with 25 homers and 87 RBIs. He ranks fourth in the National League in homers and third in RBIs.

--LHP Alex Wood took a hard-luck loss Tuesday, when he gave up three runs on five hits and one walk while striking out six over seven innings as the Braves fell to the Mets, 3-2. Wood gave up a tie-breaking two-run homer to Mets CF Juan Lagares with none out in the fourth but retired the final 12 batters he faced, including five by strikeout. With the loss, Wood falls to 9-10 with a 3.09 ERA in 30 games (19 starts) this season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's really swinging the bat really well. We've got to get some people on in front of him." -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez, of Braves LF Justin Upton, who is hitting .379 with 21 RBIs in his last 16 games.

-----------------------------------------------