July 14, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) celebrates with shortstop Martin Prado (14) after scoring a run in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The Braves are the hottest team in baseball right now. They've won eight of their 11 games in July and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. What makes that more satisfying is that they swept the Mets in doing so. With the sweep, the Braves now have a winning record against division opponents and at home. The last time the Braves had swept the Mets in Atlanta had been 2009.
This series saw the debut of two new Braves: Ben Sheets and Paul Janish. Sheets hadn't pitched in two years, but made his Braves debut Sunday and looked like the All-Star pitcher of years past, throwing six shutout innings while allowing just two hits. Janish was acquired in a trade Saturday with Atlanta sending pitcher Todd Redmond to Cincinnati. When Jack Wilson dislocated his right pinky on Friday, Atlanta was reluctant to put Pastornicky's defense out at shortstop. Janish is no Andrelton Simmons, but he should be able to provide a solid glove until Simmons returns.
Tim Hudson didn't last more than four innings on Friday, but the best backup catcher playing today helped him out with a three-run homer. David Ross was only playing because Brian McCann was waiting for his son to be born. McCann had a pair of hits in the series to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to seven games as well. He had six hits in the three games and has raised his average to .274. Chipper Jones had four hits in the series, but his 14-game hitting streak came to an end Saturday; he hit .431 during the streak and tied Mike Schmidt for second all-time in RBI by a third baseman when he homered in Friday's win. He is one behind George Brett for the most all-time.
Watching Saturday's comeback certainly felt good. I would love it if Braves hitters could do what they did more often when they're behind. It seems to me they don't do it enough.
And how about Martin Prado playing shortstop? I know we joke about it to no end, but it actually happened! He subbed for Wilson when Jack injured his hand, and it was only the third game he had ever played shortstop at the major-league level. On the few plays he handled, he looked good enough to start at shortstop on Saturday. Prado had three hits and two RBI in the series.
Not to be forgotten is Jason Heyward. He had four hits in the series with exactly one RBI and one run scored in each game. He's now hitting .275, and he's recorded nine hits during Atlanta's win streak.
Atlanta is off Monday, but will host the Giants for three games starting Tuesday.