It's a problem that has plagued the Braves all season, one they'll have no choice but to overcome if they intend on reaching the postseason.

Manager Bobby Cox's club takes a 33-41 road record into Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Mets at Citi Field -- a mark that must improve as it continues a 10-day, nine-game trek through New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

Atlanta has used a sparkling 52-23 home ledger to mask its road woes, to the point where it would be the National League's Wild Card entrant if the regular season ended today. This, despite the fact it has lost 14 of 26 contests and hasn't posted a winning road trip of six or more games since July 5-11.

The Braves own a two-game Wild Card lead over the Giants and trail the Phillies by three games in the NL East, which includes a Mets team that on Sunday will play host to a pitching matchup between veteran righties Derek Lowe and R.A. Dickey.

A winner of seven of 11 contests, New York fell short of claiming its second season series with Atlanta since 1998, but the Mets could play the role of spoiler behind Dickey. The 35-year-old knuckleballer twirled a complete-game five-hitter vs. the Pirates on Tuesday, lowering his post-All-Star-break ERA to 2.82 across 13 starts.

"He's proven that he can win at this level," said Mets manager Jerry Manuel.

A noted sinkerballer, the 37-year-old Lowe proved he can rack up strikeouts as well as groundballs, fanning a career-high 12 batters over eight innings Monday against the Nationals.

"That's as good as I've ever seen Derek," Cox said. "I can't say enough about that performance."

Braves: Heyward in notable company
Right fielder Jason Heyward, who begins Sunday's action with a .402 on-base percentage, could become the sixth Major Leaguer since 1900 to begin a season at age 20 and post an OBP of .400 or higher, joining Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Al Kaline, Mel Ott and Ted Williams and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. ... Atlanta is 4-36 in games in which it scores two or fewer runs. ... Second baseman Omar Infante has reached base safely in 42 of his past 44 contests, dating back to Aug. 2.

Mets: Wright chasing down Piazza
Third baseman David Wright needs two RBIs to tie Mike Piazza for second place on the club's all-time list with 655. ... New York has hit .231 in 61 second-half games. ... First baseman Ike Davis ranks third all-time among Mets rookies with 31 doubles, behind Ty Wigginton (36) and Kaz Matsui (32).

Worth noting
Sunday marks the final regular-season game Cox will manage against the Mets. New York catcher Henry Blanco, who played for Cox in Atlanta from 2002-03, presented on Saturday a magnum bottle of GTS Wine from Tom Seaver's vineyard to the 69-year-old field boss, who enters Sunday with a 198-156 managerial record versus the Mets. ... The Braves are 11-6 at Citi Field, including a 4-4 mark this season. ... Lowe is 0-2 with a 2.95 ERA across three starts opposite New York in 2010. ... Dickey is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in a pair of 2010 outings against Atlanta.