Braves Jason Heyward has 25 home runs, 75 RBI, and .275 average
Unlike last year, when they tanked in September and saw a 9.5-game wild card lead completely vanish on the last day of the regular season, the Atlanta Braves are heating up at the ideal time.
After Brian McCann‘s 10th inning sacrifice fly gave them a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th and Peter Moylan tossed a scoreless frame to secure the save on Sunday, the Braves completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets and have now won five in a row. They are 7-2 in September. At 81-60, Atlanta has firm control of the top wild card spot in the National League, leading St. Louis by 5.5 games.
The Braves won on Sunday without veteran leader Chipper Jones, was was out of the lineup resting a sore knee. The 40-year-old Jones is batting .297 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI this season.
McCann, who also belted his 20th home run of the season, guided Atlanta’s offense on Sunday. Michael Bourn, who has paced the Braves all season from the leadoff spot, was 2-for-5 with an RBI on Sunday and is now hitting .283 with nine home runs, 57 RBI, 10 triples and 39 stolen bases.
Atlanta’s young sluggers – outfielder Jason Heyward (25 home runs, 75 RBI, .275 average) and first baseman Freddie Freeman (19 home runs, 85 RBI, .262 average) – have given the lineup production. Martin Prado (.296 average, nine home runs, 64 RBI, 37 doubles) .
The Braves hope that second baseman Dan Uggla sustains his rebound from a tough season. He is batting just .245 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI, but he has a .323 average with two home runs over his last 10 games. McCann, who has been hampered with injuries this season, has shown signs of emerging from a slump after four hits and four RBI on Saturday followed by Sunday’s home run and sacrifice fly.
Even with Brandon Beachy out for the season and Ben Sheets on the DL, the Braves continue to get solid starting pitching. They won their 19th consecutive game started by Kris Medlen on Saturday, and Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor and Medlen are putting the Braves in a position to win almost every time they step on the mound.