The maddeningly uneven Braves lineup has reared its head in a recent rough patch, as Atlanta has scored only one run in its last four contests and has been unable to make up ground in the National League Wild Card race. After a 4-0 loss on Tuesday, the Braves sit 1 1/2 games behind the Brewers for the second NL Wild Card spot.
After plating 4.2 runs per game during an 11-5 run that began in mid-August, the Braves have scored only one run over their past 99 outs. Part of that futility was a combined no-hitter at the hands of the Phillies on Monday.
"I know [hitting coaches Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher] and all of the coaching staff, we scratch our heads and put lineups and all kinds of stuff together," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Right now, we're just in a funk. We need to go out and score some runs the next couple of games."
Tasked with keeping the lagging Atlanta offense close opposite Phillies hurler David Buchanan on Wednesday afternoon at Turner Field is Ervin Santana, who felt the sting of another rough day on offense in a 1-0 loss to the Reds on Aug. 23.
But that was just one of several strong starts by Santana since his mid-June resurgence. He has won eight of his last 12 decisions, while compiling a 3.05 ERA in 14 starts since June 17.
Meanwhile, Buchanan is making a strong play to earn a spot in Philadelphia's starting rotation coming out of Spring Training next year. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 11 straight starts, posting a 3.29 ERA in that stretch.
Buchanan most recently limited the Mets to one earned run in six strong innings on Friday, notching his eighth quality start and his eighth turn allowing two earned runs or fewer, each number marking more than half of his 15 starts in 2014.
Buchanan will try to complete the three-game shutout sweep of Atlanta, which will attempt to snap out of its funk on Wednesday.
"We know at some point, we're going to bust out," Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said. "Hopefully it's soon, and hopefully it's not too late."
Phillies: Giles earning his 'K'
When Ken Giles fanned Jason Heyward in Monday's combined no-hitter, he became the fastest Phillies pitcher to reach 50 career strikeouts, reaching the mark in 35 innings. Grant Jackson held the previous record of 39 2/3 frames.
Giles has been dynamic out of the Phillies' bullpen, striking out 54 batters and compiling a 1.23 ERA in 36 2/3 Major League innings.
Braves: J-Up displeased with Kendrick
Kyle Kendrick plunked Justin Upton with a pitch on Tuesday night, a play that led to Upton exiting the game with a bruised left triceps muscle. The left fielder is day to day.
Upton voiced his frustration with Kendrick following the game, remarking that the Philadelphia right-hander has now twice hit him above the left elbow in 2014.
• Johnson has grounded into 22 double plays this season. He is two away from matching the Atlanta record of 24 set by Andruw Jones in 2004 and matched by Yunel Escobar in 2008.
• Heyward has recorded 20 multihit games in his past 44 contests, dating back to July 8. He has reached base safely with a hit or a walk in 85 of 99 games since May 9.
• Phillies outfielder Ben Revere stole two bases on Tuesday night, giving him a new single-season career-high of 42 stolen bases.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.