On Monday night in Philadelphia, Sheets will make his fifth start for the Braves as they open a series against the Phillies, looking to cut into the Nationals' three-game lead in the National League East.
The 34-year-old fell to 3-1 when he took a loss against the Marlins last Wednesday, but still holds a 1.46 ERA and 23-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Even as he allowed three earned runs on 11 hits against Miami, Sheets struck out a season-high eight. He lasted into the seventh inning and topped 100 pitches for the first time since July 19, 2010. That was his last start before undergoing a second career Tommy John surgery that kept him out of the big leagues until July 15 this year.
"I think for him, going out there in the seventh was a big plus," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think sitting down for seven innings and going out and getting over the 100-pitch mark was a good step forward."
The Braves, starting a six-game road trip, have won 10 of 12. They are 7-2 against the Phillies this year, with one of those victories coming July 27, when Sheets allowed one run over six innings.
This time, Sheets will oppose Vance Worley, who is 6-6 with a 3.63 ERA, but has posted a 5.05 ERA in his last seven games while dealing with bone chips in his elbow. Over that span, the righty has surrendered 53 hits in 41 innings.
In Worley's last outing, last Wednesday at Washington, he allowed two unearned runs in the first inning, then tacked on six more scoreless frames. For the first time in 41 career starts, he didn't record a strikeout.
"It seemed like every time I got ahead in the count, I couldn't put a guy away," Worley said. "If they want to get out earlier in the [count], that's fine with me. I'd much rather get swings on the first couple pitches."
Worley's only start against the Braves this season came on July 8 in Philadelphia, when he gave up three runs in six innings for a no-decision.
Braves: Venters makes effective return to action
Before Sunday, reliever Jonny Venters hadn't pitched since July 29, the result of some tenderness in his left elbow. But he declared himself "fine" prior to Sunday's series finale against the Astros.
"It got a little sore, so they gave me a little time off," Venters said. "It was just a precaution."
Venters entered a tie game in the sixth inning with runners on second and third and one out. He struck out Matt Downs, and after an intentional walk, got J.D. Martinez to hit into a fielder's choice. The Braves then scored three runs in the bottom of the frame to set up Venters for his fourth win of the season.
Venters carried a 4.45 ERA when he went on the disabled list with an elbow impingement on July 5, but he has thrown 4 2/3 scoreless innings since being activated.
Right-hander Jair Jurrjens will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. Jurrjens, 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA, was demoted to the bullpen shortly before suffering a strained right groin on Tuesday against the Marlins.
Phillies: Scuffling Rollins gets day to regroup
For only the fifth time this season and the first since May 23, Jimmy Rollins didn't start at shortstop on Sunday. Manager Charlie Manuel originally put Rollins in the lineup against the D-backs, but later changed his mind and went with Michael Martinez.
"I just think [Rollins is] tired and needs a day off," Manuel said. "I had been thinking about it and then I just decided to do it."
Rollins eventually appeared as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-1, making him 0-for-12 over his last four games and 3-for-29 over his last eight. All three of those hits are home runs.
Left fielder Domonic Brown went 2-for-4 with a double on Sunday, picking up his first multi-hit game since last July 19.
Ty Wigginton has the most experience against Sheets of any Phillies' player, going 12-for-36 (.333) with two doubles and two home runs, But their last matchup came in 2010.
The Phillies went 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, breaking a 4-for-27 (.148) skid.