Braves head to Washington tied for 2nd place

So now the Braves are a game and a half out of first place. Will that wake them up?

The Braves lost again Wednesday. This time the score was 10-5. They were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies. The fourth-place Phillies.

Atlanta is now 1.5 games back of the Nationals (37-33), who beat Houston Wednesday night. The Marlins have the same record (36-35) as Atlanta after their loss to the Cubs.

The Braves have now lost four of their last five games and six of their last eight. Atlanta finishes the six-game homestand with a 2-4 mark. The record in June is 6-10. Since their 17-7 start, the Braves have gone 19-28 (.404).

Manager Fredi Gonzalez shook up his lineup Wednesday in the business-person's special at Turner Field. Tommy La Stella was moved to the lead off spot. La Stella was 0-4 with a walk in his new lineup position.

Jason Heyward was moved to fifth in the lineup. He was 1-2 Wednesday with two walks and a RBI.

Evan Gattis, who did not play Tuesday night, extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a 1st inning home run (his 16th) off Phillies' starter Kyle Kendrick. Ryan Doumit had perhaps his best game with Atlanta this year as he was 3-4 with solo home run.

Braves starter Aaron Harang had one of his worst performances of the season. Harang allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 13 hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out four.

Gavin Floyd (1-2, 2.98) will open the series for the Braves in Washington Thursday night at 7:05. Jordan Zimmerman (5-3, 2.98) will pitch for the Nationals. Mike Minor (2-4, 4.42) is scheduled to start for the Braves Friday against Stephen Strasburg (6-5, 3.06). Julio Teheran (6-4, 2.31) pitches Saturday for Atlanta, while Doug Fister (5-2, 3.08) will go for Washington. And in the series finale, Ervin Santana (5-4, 4.12) will pitch Sunday against Nationals' right-hander Tanner Roark (6-4, 2.85).

Now that Atlanta is even more than a game out of first place, how will the team react, particularly with the now first place Nationals as the next opponent? Might this weekend series in Washington determine the course of the summer?

Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and e-mail him at

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