Posted: 9:15 am Monday, June 16th, 2014

The Braves’ hitters actually have started to hit 

By Mark Bradley

This guy has been hitting the ball hard for a while now. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

This guy has been hitting the ball hard for a while now. (Todd Kirkland/AP)

We stipulate that a weekend does not an uprising — not a sustained one, anyway — make. But the Atlanta Braves did rally from four runs down to force extra innings Saturday night, and they did override a three-run deficit to win Sunday. They scored 17 runs on 35 hits over three games. They were 10-for-33 (.333) with runners in scoring position. For one of the few times in 2014, they looked as if they can really hit.

In a conversation before Friday’s game, hitting coach Greg Walker noted that, even as most of the team’s offensive statistics were depressing, there was one that might augur brighter tomorrows. When the Braves do hit the ball — as we know, they often don’t hit the ball — they tend to hit it hard. “We make more hard contact than any team,” said Walker, citing a statistical study.” Like most baseball men, Walker believes that hitting the ball hard enough often enough will ultimately yield results.

This isn’t to say that things, as the old and erroneous saw has it, will eventually even out. Andrelton Simmons hit the ball hard three times Saturday and made four outs: His liner was gloved by a leaping Erick Aybar; his grounder in the hole was snagged by the same Aybar, and a smash to third base became a lineout double play. (Then again, Jason Heyward did tie the game in the 10th inning with a broken-bat single.).

The Braves struck out 30 times over the three games, and that isn’t apt to change. As Walker said: “We knew in the spring we would possibly be a streaky team. We knew we’d be a high-strikeout team. We did that last year, but when we got hot we were unbeatable. We haven’t had that hot streak this year; hopefully we will.”

Maybe this was the start of the something. Maybe it wasn’t. Whatever it was, it came at a needed moment — the Braves had won only one of their previous six series — and enabled them to reclaim first place in the National League East. They head to Washington D.C. for four games starting Thursday.

From myajc.com: Chipper on the Braves: “The offense has struggled.”

20 comments
TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Let's all cheer for ex-Brave Dan Uggla (with the team in spirit only). If he hadn't been so horrible, we never would have found out how great a contributor LaStella has proven to be!

Thanks Danny boy- don't spend it all on your protein shakes for your bicep-building!

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

If the hitters were stocks, Gattis is up, CJ is up, Heyward is up, LaStella is way up and even BJ has ticked up slightly. And just in time, Freeman has plummeted

JROLL1
JROLL1

Team Full of Strikeout Kings!

JSW73
JSW73

One thing stood out to me over the weekend. The two comebacks happened without the HR. Yes Jhey hit one last night. But the base hits did the damage. A lot of singles and simply moving the runners over. This happened because the approaches taken at the plate. Seeing a lot of pitches and swinging at strikes. Question is, how come they can't take this approach more consistently?


Also both rallies seem to occur with LaStella right in the middle of it all.

DrPhill
DrPhill

I wonder what Gattis would do with a disciplined team and good coaching.  I don't trust Fredi and company with such raw talent.

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

Starting today, I join the Fire Fredi Club should today's lineup not have LaStella in the 2 hole. BJ Upton, otherwise known as the worst free agent aquisition since the dawn of time, should be moved out of the order all together but until then bat ninth.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Braves have a shot to save their season. First tell Uggla and his guns to take a hike. Maybe hire Johnny Rocco to take him to Cuba and be his muscle. Then tell BJ that it's our way or the highway. He's got the talent, but he just is hard to reach and doesn't seem to care unless he's threatened. Fredo needs to stop sucking his thumb and kick some tail. This team is infected with Sluggo Disease. You remember the Great Sluggo...that big buffoon Ryan Klesko who would pose in magnificent granduer when he launched a longball. They may need a witch doctor to get rid of that infection. Of course when he gets here he will be overwhelmed by all of the other existing Atlanta curses....some dating back to Gen. Sherman. Get the guys who will listen to coaching on the field. IMO, the guys who are coachable are LaStella (please don't ruin him), Gattis (this guy will do anything he's asked. He's even played a little better at catcher recently) Johnson (I think he's trying to get his swing back) Simmons, Freeman and Justin are too talented to keep off the field. The big question is Heyward. He doesnt need to be in the leadoff spot, that's for sure. I think if he see's the rest of the team trying to manufacture runs he will fall in step. 

DrPhill
DrPhill

Braves' management is stuck on stupid, and BJ's sense of entitlement is infectious.  Should this team make it to the playoffs, it will be a repeat of the last two years.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Greg Walker was quarterback of the Coffee County team that  lost 21-20 in the 1976 region playoff to the Ware County Gators.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Generally, things are never as good or as bad as they seem at the moment. The Braves have a lot of talented players underperforming to one extent or another, and they were bound to make some noise eventually.

At one point Saturday I was convinced BJ Upton should never again step on a baseball field as an Atlanta Brave. Maybe there was a rock-bottom moment there, a turnaround mentally, whatever, he seemed to play with more determination and intensity yesterday.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Any benching of LaStella to play the Unmentionable One should lead to an immediate mental exam for Fredo. 

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Thanks mark. I'm hoping the braves can put some separation between them and the rest of the nl east these next few weeks. Beating the nats this weekend would help a lot.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@DrPhill 


I wonder how many starts and wins Babe Ruth would have had if Boston had had good coaching? 

TampGator1
TampGator1

@DrPhill 


Yeah....real stupid to bring up Simmons and LaStella. Real stupid to sign two starting pitchers, one with a recovering TJ arm and another that was released by some other stupid GM.  The only stupid is all the posters on here doing that stupid wave of nonsense every day about Wren and Gonzalez.  Man....it gets really, really old when you look up and the Braves are still in first place.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@JackClemens 


I played defensive back way back in the late 60s against Waycross High.  I guess they are Ware County High now.  "Them" were some big, mean boys that played for Waycross High.  One knocked me out cold with an upper cut to the chin. When I woke up, I was laying on a table in the dressing room.  Will never forget that.  

khd713
khd713

@TampGator1 @DrPhill Thank you for that. It's just amazing to me all of the morons who post their Fire Frank! and Fire Fredi! nonsense. Either they are just playing around and trying to incite strong reaction comments, or they are just plain stupid people. One person recently called Frank Wren the worst general manager in all of baseball. Obviously, this person has never bothered to look at Wren's track record since 2007 when Wren became GM, and he does not think that being in first place is worth much. That's a real shame because I grew up in this town in the 1970s and 1980s and I can tell you from experience, you better be darn careful what you wish for. Those days were no fun at all, and I really prefer what Wren has accomplished next to just about any other period in Braves history, other than when he was an assistant under Schuerholz and they had the three best pitchers in baseball. You idiots have no idea how good you have it right now, and how nice it is to have a pro baseball team with this kind of talent. I've lived through the opposite, and it's no fun. When you fire a first-place GM and manager, I expect it's only a short matter of time before you find yourself in the cellar wondering what the heck happened. Don't be stupid people. Open your eyes and learn to appreciate what you've got. So you don't like the Uggla and B.J. deals. We get it. Do you think Wren likes what those two have produced? No, he doesn't. But he is paying both of them a boatload of money to produce, so he is not just going to pull them out of the lineup in an instant, or move them down in the order this very day! It's a process people, and the baseball season lasts a long, l;ing time. Uggla is already gone, but B.J. will get more time. That's just the way it is, whether you like it or not, and you would do the same if you were GM/manager. You would give him every possible chance to succeed, because as soon as you move him down in the order, or bench him, it's over. That's when the bad deal becomes official, because it's not official yet. Every GM makes bad deals. The B.J. deal has the potential to be a really bad one, but it's not there yet, not until they give up on him, and they haven't yet. Until they do, it would serve you well to enjoy first place and keep your hands away from the keyboard.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@TampGator1 @JackClemens  Remember the Braves training camp at Waycross airport. I was there when Mike Lum, Bll Robnson, and Rico Biggie Boy Carty was there. We  WCH GATORS played our home games there.. Braves gave HS their old uniforms, bats and balls.