Braves limp home after being swept by Rangers

The Braves may be done. Can they get back into the race with 13 games remaining?

The names were not Fielder, Profar and Choo. Instead, players named Rua, Rosales and Sardinas helped the Texas Rangers beat the Atlanta Braves this weekend.

The worst team in baseball, one that had lost 11 of their previous 12 games and scored only two runs per game in that period, just swept the Braves in the most embarrassing series of the season.

Atlanta is now only one game over .500 (75-74). They are now 10.5 games back of Washington in the NL East. The Nationals hit Turner Field Monday for the start of a three-game series that was supposed to be an important series for the Braves.

Instead, Atlanta is barely in the wildcard race. The Braves now trail the Pittsburgh Pirates (79-70) by four games for the second wildcard spot in the National League. The Brewers (78-72) are ahead of the Braves by 2.5 games and 1.5 games back of the Pirates. The Marlins (72-76) are 2.5 games back of the Braves.

San Francisco (79-70) is the top team in the wildcard race. They would host the winner of the second spot in a one-game winner-take-all game.

The Braves are now 3-9 in September. They have scored 31 runs this month in the 12 games played. They are 23-31 since the All-Star Break and 58-67 since the 17-7 start in April. The Braves have 13 games remaining in the regular season.

Atlanta may have the right pitcher on the mound to turn things around Monday in the first game of the series against the Nationals. Stephen Strasburg (11-11, 3.46) goes for Washington against Ervin Santana (14-8, 3.76) for the Braves. Aaron Harang (11-10, 3.72) pitches Tuesday in game two of the series.

What will the crowds be for this series? The Braves just got swept by the worst team in baseball. They are barely in the playoff race. School is in. So don’t expect many people at Turner Field over the next few days. The Mets come in for three games starting on Friday night for the last weekend series of the year, followed by four games next week against the Pirates. Will those games even be meaningful, or will the Braves be out of it by then?

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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