Menu

Baseball

Struggling Braves welcome Cardinals to town

(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Atlanta Braves will try to put an end to their recent slide Monday night when they welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to Turner Field for the opener of a three-game set.

Atlanta is in the midst of a season-worst six-game slide and has been outscored by a 32-10 margin in that span.

"Maybe (Monday) we'll come up with a little something different, but nothing major because this is a club and this is a team that won the division," manager Fredi Gonzalez said about possibly shaking things up. "But sometimes we need a little break here and there."

The Braves suffered a 4-1 setback to San Francisco on Sunday, marking their third straight game being held to one run. They have totaled just 11 runs over their last seven games. Freddie Freeman and Evan Gattis both went 0-for-4, and that duo is in a combined 4-for-44 rut.

"We just got one run. Again," Gonzalez observed. "I don't want to use the word frustrating, and I won't, but I don't know if there's another word I could use. But we're too talented offensively to not be able to put a crooked number up."

While Atlanta is hitting just .210 with runners in scoring position this season, St. Louis has not fared much better in that department with a .227 average. However, Yadier Molina came through with a two-run single in the ninth inning on Sunday to send the Cards to a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Rookie Randal Grichuk added an RBI triple in the second inning, and Matt Adams went 2-for-4 for his major league-leading 15th multi-hit game of the year.

St. Louis will send Shelby Miller to the mound for Monday's series opener. The right-hander has won his past two starts and has given up just four runs over his last four. He allowed three runs on six hits over six innings of Wednesday's 9-3 win over Milwaukee. Miller also walked three batters, raising his total to 21 in 34 1/3 innings this season.

"He hasn't had his best stuff," manager Mike Matheny said. "I see a lot of things that are very positive with how he competes. Shelby also has the ability to dominate if he can get everything locked in and fine-tune some of those things. It's one of the things he's going to have to clean up. And when he does, watch out."

For Atlanta, Aaron Harang will try to rebound from a miserable performance his last time out. The right-hander was touched up for nine runs on 10 hits against Miami on Wednesday as the Braves lost that game, 9-3. Harang had allowed just three earned runs over his previous five starts.

"I just felt like I wasn't as sharp early on," Harang said after the loss. "I was falling behind early in the count and having to come back a little bit more to the middle of the plate than I would have liked. When you fall behind, it puts you in a hole right away."

This will be the first meeting between these two teams in 2014. Atlanta went 4-3 against the Cards last season.