NEW YORK METS (84-65, first place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (60-90, fourth place/NL East)
*May swap days
BRAVES SHORT HOPS
Despite sweeping a weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies in a battle for the worst record in the majors, Atlanta has lost 26 of its last 33 games. At one point, the Braves were 42-42 this season. They are 18-48 since that point.
All-Star Shelby Miller is 0-14 with a 3.68 ERA in his past 22 starts. It marks the longest streak of winless starts in the majors since Chris Volstad went 24 straight in 2011 with the Miami Marlins and in 2012 with the Chicago Cubs. Miller’s winless streak is the longest ever for a pitcher who appeared in that year’s All-Star game, easily surpassing a 13-start winless stretch by Nolan Ryan with the Houston Astros in 1983. Miller last earned a win on May 17, when he shut out Miami.
In a change-of-scenery trade involving large contracts, the Braves acquired Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher from the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 7 for Chris Johnson. Atlanta received roughly $15 million to help financially balance the deal. Hector Olivera has now taken over at third base minus Johnson. Olivera, a 30-year-old Cuban defector who received a $28 million signing bonus from the Los Angeles Dodgers, arrived in a three-team trade on July 30 that shipped out Alex Wood, Luis Avilan, Jim Johnson and infield prospect Jose Peraza. Olivera is hitting only .236 (13-for-55) with one homer and seven RBIs.
The Braves, of course, traded Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to the Mets on July 24 for minor league right-handers John Gant and Rob Whalen. Atlanta then dealt Eric Young Jr. to the Amazin’s on Aug. 22 for cash. Young was playing for Triple-A Gwinnett at the time. The Braves also traded away Jonny Gomes to the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 31.
Cameron Maybin was out of the starting lineup for 10 days before returning Wednesday. He had a scratched cornea in his left eye that then got infected.
Manny Banuelos underwent surgery Thursday to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. Fellow pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, meanwhile, has been hospitalized in Atlanta since Friday with blood clots in his right arm. He went on the disabled list on Sept. 2 with a rib issue.
The Braves have used a franchise-record 59 players this season. Once right-hander Dan Winkler appears, the total will rise to 60. The previous Braves record had been 50 in 2007. They used only 39 players a year ago.