Braves 5 (90-69), Marlins 1 (77-81)
WP: Lowe (16-12)
LP: Miller (1-5)
A sweep of the hated Marlins in the last week of the regular season? I'll take that. The team's first 90 win season since 2005? I'll take that too. All around solid win for the Braves this late afternoon. Derek Lowe continued his solid pitching this month, going 5 2/3 strong innings, allowing 1 earned on 7 hits while walking only 1 and striking out 9. In 5 September starts, Lowe has struck out 29 while walking only 3 and posting a 1.17 ERA. Pitcher of the month? Hopefully. Lowe's solid September has made him look like a valuable piece of the rotation for the playoffs and next season. Hopefully he can continue his hot pitching for the rest of his Braves tenure and make the $30 million remaining invested in him look good. And the Braves bullpen? Fantastic as usual. 3 1/3 innings of 2 hit, shutout ball. Great job, bullpen.
Remember how I was whining about the offense not working many walks lately? Well they got 10 of them tonight, to go with 7 hits. I'm a little dismayed that the team only put 5 runs on the board, but what can you do...its a win. I'll take it. Most of the damage came in the 3rd inning, with David Ross doubling in Matt Diaz to get the game's first run on the board, and Brooks Conrad following that up with a 3-run homer to left center field to tack on a few more runs. It was Conrad's eighth homer of the season, and first coming before the 7th inning. Captain Clutch delivers again...I think he'll be a suitable fill-in for Prado in the lineup with as much as Prado was struggling this month. Scanning the stats really quick...every starter but Alex Gonzalez reached base. Ross had 3 doubles in a spot start, continuing to prove his worth as the best backup catcher in the league. Jason Heyward and Diaz didn't get hits, but each walked twice. Derrek Lee doubled to go along with his 2 walks. Would have liked to see more runs get put on the board, as the team stranded 12 men...but like I said, what can you do? A win is a win.
The lead in the wild card standings is 2 games, with the Padres-Cubs game getting underway as we speak. The Braves magic number to clinch an outright wild card berth is 3...for the uneducated, that means that the Braves are playoff bound with a combination of 3 Braves wins or Padres losses. The earliest the team can clinch is Friday against Philly.
Speaking of Friday against Philly. The Braves will send Brandon Beachy to the mound for his third start to take on perennial Phillies 5th starter Kyle Kendrick. I'd assume Philly will be resting many regulars. I look forward to this. Its also worth noting that if the Braves win the series this weekend, they will set a new franchise record for home wins. The record is 56, and the team is sitting on 55 right now.