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Braves aim to finish road trip strong

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves finish their upcoming nine-game road trip against the pitching-poor Texas Rangers at hitter-friendly Arlington.

If the Braves don’t start getting untracked before that, though, their postseason chances may be on life support.

Of course, some would say that they already are.

The Braves (73-67) were no-hit by four Philadelphia pitchers on Monday and had scored just one run over four games before defeating the Phillies 7-4 on Wednesday.

Rookie catcher Christian Bethanourt, who was 3-for-4, gave the Braves a lift with a pair of two-out RBI hits, but three of the runs against the Phillies were unearned and another scored on a wild pitch.

“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.”

The Braves do too much swinging and missing, and rarely manufacture runs.

“Right now, we’re just in a funk,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said during the scoring drought.

Actually, the funk has lasted most of the season.

Atlanta struck out way too much last season as well, but at least they hit home runs. This year the Braves are accomplish almost nothing offensively on a consistent basis.

Left fielder Justin Upton was out of the lineup on Wednesday, but he should be OK when the Braves open a weekend series in Miami. Even Upton, though, has cooled after a hot August.

Thursday’s off-day can’t hurt the Braves, but he may not help either. More than a mental reset is needed after a season worth of hitting woes.

Time is running out to salvage the season. The Braves play Washington — the National League East leader — six times in the two weeks, but a wild-card is likely their only postseason hope.

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Going into the season, the concern was the injury-depleted rotation, but the rotation has been a plus. It is the offense that has failed.

Remember all the raves about the Braves lineup going into 2013? Wow, that seems like a long time ago.