At the home of the Braves, another flurry of homers

Freeman puts up a three-spot. (David Tulis/AP)

Freeman puts up a three-spot. (David Tulis/AP)

Freeman puts up a three-spot. (David Tulis/AP)

When the ball flies over yonder wall, the Atlanta Braves are a different team. We’ve known that for a while, and we’ve seen it again this homestand. A week ago they hit four home runs off Stephen Strasburg and won. On Friday they hoisted four more — three off starter Jason Hammel, the fourth off former Brave Jesse Chavez — and beat the Oakland A’s, who hold the best record in baseball.

This was the way it worked in 2013, when the Braves led the National League with 181 homers and won 96 games. It hasn’t worked nearly as well this season. They entered play Friday having hit 95 homers in 121 games, good for 10th place in the 15-team NL. Put it this way: The 2014 Braves have actually been better at getting on base — they were eighth in OBP — than clearing the bases, which is why they were a wretched 13th in runs.

As of Friday morning, the Braves had averaged 0.79 homers per game. Last season they averaged 1.18. The difference is that Dan Uggla, who didn’t hit much of anything, did hit 22 homers; this year he hit two — both in the same game — before being DFA’ed. Jason Heyward, who hit 14 homers in 104 games last season, has nine in 115 now. Brian McCann, who hit 20, is a Yankee.

This offense wasn’t built to single anyone into submission. This is a team of big swingers — the Braves are third-worst in the league in strikeouts; last year they tied for worst with the Mets — who must make an opponent pay for fat pitches. Washington manager Matt Williams said as much over the weekend: “Those guys over in that clubhouse have power, and they really feed on mistakes.”

Justin Upton and Evan Gattis each launched a fastball down the middle from Hammel, the kind of pitch a big-leaguer should clout. The rookie Phil Gosselin also homered off a nothing fastball from Chavez. Freddie Freeman actually drove a Hammel breaking pitch over the wall in center field, but Freeman isn’t missing anything. He’s 16-for-33 over the past nine games.

A week after they’d scored seven runs against Strasburg, all on homers, they scored seven runs against the A’s, all on homers. That’s really the only way the Braves can score much if at all, and when they do they’re hard to beat. When they don’t, they’re easy pickings.

Reader Comments 0

15 comments
Wilbo
Wilbo

 And Matt Ryan goes 3-7 for 37 yards!?

Wilbo
Wilbo

Important!!! Very big chance for the Oakland Athletics! All the A's have to do is win Saturday and Sunday, and they will knock the stinking Braves down to .500.


That would put last place in the NL East in sight!


Getting closer to to 5th than 1st would be a hugely important step for the sickly Bravos in their quest to fall out of relevance in the National League. Right now Sat 8/16 in the afternoon, the October Chokers are 7 games out of first, and only 8 out of the bottom spot.


It's so hard to time your choke right down to the first week in October. Make it easy on yourself, suggahs. Choke right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

And the blind squirrel found its way to an oak tree last night.  Yay!  Now, watch out for loose dogs, cars and lawn mowers.  


Anyone who knows hitting knows that an upper cut is a strike-out, make-an-out swing.  Swing level, slightly downward, while watching the ball make contact with the bat.  Good contact makes the ball sting when hit, causing line drive singles and gappers, sharp grounders, and backspin homeruns.  Being a "singles" team means everyone strikes out too much to find a wife, much less an acorn.  Being a hitting team, in the Ted, is what the Braves must always have, because it is a park helpful to pitchers.  A hitting team at the Ted becomes a homerun hitting team in parks that like hitters.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

A continuing flurry of homers is all it takes, go Braves.

ProfessorD
ProfessorD

I am a Braves fan at the core.  Have been since my childhood watching Murphy, Horner, Hubbard and Perez.  Braves baseball is in my blood.  When I was a kid, we didn't have cable, so I couldn't watch the Braves that much, but when they came on TV on Saturdays right after This Week in Baseball, I was in heaven watching my favorite players.  Then 1991 came and I was in my first year in college and that magical season captured me like never before.  It was excruciating watching Smoltz pitch his heart out only to watch Cox bring in Leibrandt.  I think everyone knew what was coming then.  I, like many on this blog, have watched the Braves religiously since then and even when they struggled, you always felt that they would play the game the right way and be there at the end of the season.  They always had players that you knew gave their all and even if they didn't succeed, you felt good being a fan and cheering them on. Even in the 80's when they sucked beyond all belief, you wanted to root for them because of the players like Hubbard and Murph.  


Now, for the first time in my life, I can't watch the Braves.  I still pull for them, but the brand of baseball and the apathy shown by the players has become unwatchable.  Baseball was not meant to be played the way this bunch approaches the game.  Fundamentals are lacking everywhere, both mentally and physically.  This team was constructed very poorly both from a skill set and a chemistry stand point.  For the first time in my life, I hope they don't make the playoffs so that sincere changes will be made.  If they make the playoffs, I will be there cheering, but knowing that they don't play a championship brand of baseball, and any success will be purely by luck.


This team has been devastated by bad contracts and a poor philosophy of baseball.  What happened to developing your talent in the minors and building from there through veteran players who display the type of professionalism you want your players to emulate?  I say bring Bobby back as GM.  He was the best one we ever had and knew how to build a team.  Or find someone like him.  Wren is surely not working and Fredi is right behind him.


Sorry for the long post, but like many fans, frustration with this bunch has come to a head, even after a win.

BravoDawg
BravoDawg

Lets move on to next year & evaluate what we have:


Tehran, Wood, Minor(maybe), Santana(maybe)

Medlen, Beachy, Floyd, Harang are all done

Kimbrel & Walden in the pen, thats it

Trade Gattis & play Bethancourt

Bench BJ since nobody will take him

Trade Heyward his potential will not come here

Dump Doumit, Pena, Laird the sorriest bench in the league

So you have Freddie, J Up, Johnson(overpaid), Simmons, LaStella


Oh Yeah, Freddie Gone zalez? he wont make it to Cobb County, get rid of his butt before 2017!

Wilbo
Wilbo

And now how many years has this demented organization refused to learn the lesson that homer-ball is way too inconsistent to win w consistently? And is especially so in October (should there ever again be such a month)


Close your eyes. Relax. Breathe in deeply. Repeat wistfully, reverentially in your mind's eye: "Otis.....   Deion..... Otis..... Deion......."

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

I think last night said more about the quality of pitching they faced.  I think they have "lit up" Hammel before, his pitches had little movement.  Great to see them pound the ball, good to know they can. 

DrPhill
DrPhill

For one night, fans become the zombies, and the Braves appear to be live humans. I'm past watching whole games, and I didn't see Goslin hit his home run. But I saw him make some good plays. The danger of having a few good games before October is, it will only preserve the status quo in players, management, coaches, and broadcasters, and that will lead to continued mediocrity .

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

The HRs were nice to see for a change - and really nice to see Gosselin get in a game instead of the wretched Pena, but apparently we owe that to Simmons' dentist, not Fredi's "smarts" - but it's just one game. (shrug) This team has been mediocre - or worse - since the end of April. They'll have to play well for a lot more than one game or one series or even for a week or two before I get remotely optimistic about them again.

Falcons2013
Falcons2013

For the first time in years the braves have put an unwatchable team on the field. My son who is the most die hard fan I know can't stand to watch this team, The inability to manufacture and flat out refusal to play small ball falls on the manager. it is maddening to watch this team load the bases with no outs and get no runs. While they have an occasional offensive explosion in a single game with HRs most nights the offense is anemic and there is an absolute absence of clutch hitting when a simple hit is needed. The fan base is convinced the season is over despite the fact that the nAts themselves have been quite unimpressive. There is no excuse for a team that has. Gattis freeman Jupton and Hayward to be struggling offensively. Even players who have hit for average in the past like Johnson can't hit or manufacture runs. Also the fact that the manager has been incredibly stubborn in benching Bj is a slap in the face of the fan base and makes it look like salary instead of winning is what's important.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@ProfessorD Love your enthusiasm, Bubba Doon, but Bobby Cox is a crazy old drunk stumbling around his horse farm. That dude's time is long, long, longggggggggggggggggg past. Like I've said before, time to flush out this organization like a badly stopped up toilet. From Schuerholtz right on down. Cox presided over the worst run of embarrassing failure in professional sports playoff history. No more of that, please!!!! Out w the old, in w the new.


seminoleking
seminoleking

@BravoDawg you are a MAYBE on santana?????? i stopped reading right there. he has SAVED this season. we knew tehran was legit. think where the braves would be if they hadnt signed him late during the off season.......

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@BravoDawg Next Year?



Santana : Gone,He has pitched well enough for Braves ,so he will want a multiple year contract next year something the Braves can't afford.

#2 Instead of taking up a roster spot on the bench Wren needs to just cut #2 ,paying off the contract will be tough,but why waste another season waiting for #2 to produce. Bring up a minor league prospect pay him the minimum and odds are the kid will out perform #2.