Streaking Braves keeping the faith

Streaking Braves keeping the faith

ATLANTA -- The Braves know that they dug a hole that they may not be able to escape. But at the same time, they're not ready to close the casket and officially deem their playoff hopes to be dead.

The Braves will be looking to notch a season-best sixth consecutive win on Wednesday night, when they host the Mets in the middle game of a three-game set at Turner Field.

With their five-game winning streak, the Braves have resurrected the postseason hopes that were seemingly dead when they were swept by the Reds two weekends ago. Still, they remain 7 1/2 games back in the National League East race.

After the Rockies' loss, the Braves moved to within five games of the NL Wild Card lead. But with just 18 games remaining, time appears to be their biggest enemy in both races.

"It's possible [to make the playoffs], and until we're mathematically eliminated, we're going to go out with the feeling that we've got a shot," said Chipper Jones, who has been out of the lineup for the past two games with a strained left groin that could limit him to pinch-hit duties for the remainder of this series.

With 18 games remaining in the 2007 season, the Rockies faced a 3 1/2-game deficit in the NL Wild Card standings. They managed to go 14-4 and force a one-game playoff with the Padres.

The opportunity to face the injury-depleted Mets during five of their next eight games should be viewed as a positive for the Braves. They've won six of eight against them since the All-Star break.

But unlike the Phillies and Rockies, the Braves haven't taken full advantage of the opportunities they've been provided while facing some of the Senior Circuit's worst teams this year. They've combined to go 13-11 against the Nationals, Padres and Pirates.

"It's imperative that we don't just play good against good teams," Jones said. "We haven't done that as consistently as Philadelphia, Colorado or San Francisco."

As the Braves attempt to win a sixth consecutive game for the first time since May 8, 2008, they'll send Derek Lowe to the mound with the hopes that this outing against the Mets proves to be more memorable than his last.

During his Aug. 18 start at Citi Field, Lowe surrendered eight earned runs and 11 hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Mets tallied nine hits and each of those runs during the fourth inning.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP Derek Lowe (14-9, 4.47 ERA)
Lowe didn't exactly shut down the Astros in his last start, giving up nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, but backed by 14 hits, he picked up his 14th win. Lowe has made three starts against the Mets in 2009, going 1-1 with a 7.16 ERA. He has given up 13 runs and 21 hits in 16 1/3 innings against New York this season.

NYM: RHP Bobby Parnell (3-8, 5.49 ERA)
Parnell endured a difficult first inning -- three walks, two hits and three runs -- against the Marlins on Thursday night, but a botched double play undermined him before a run scored. He recovered, to a degree, but pitched merely five innings in his seventh big league start. The Fish accumulated seven hits -- one a home run -- and five walks. One of their six runs was unearned. Parnell now has allowed 32 runs, 45 hits and 17 walks in 39 innings as a starter. His record in that role is 1-5. His opponent in this game is the team that scored nine runs against him in three innings on Aug. 19.

Tidbits
The Braves don't currently plan to add any more players to their expanded roster this year. ... Ryan Church, who was acquired from the Mets in exchange for Jeff Francoeur on July 11, said that he's gained some recent relief from the lower back discomfort that he began experiencing again this past weekend. ... The Braves are 26-21 in one-run games this year. They were a Major League-worst 11-30 in one-run games last year.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• PTV

On radio
• 640 WGST, Project 9-6-1

Up next
• Thursday: Braves (Jair Jurrjens, 11-10, 2.81) vs. Mets (Nelson Figueroa, 2-5, 4.57), 7:00 p.m. ET
• Friday: Braves (Tim Hudson, 1-0, 3.63) vs. Phillies (J.A. Happ, 10-4, 2.77), 7:30 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Braves (Javier Vazquez, 13-9, 3.01) vs. Phillies (TBD), 7:00 p.m. ET

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.