For the new Braves, small ball yields a big first week

Jonny Gomes admires his circuit clout Sunday. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Jonny Gomes admires his circuit clout Sunday. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Jonny Gomes admires his circuit clout Sunday. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Jonny Gomes admires his Sunday circuit clout. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

We stress that one week does not a season make. (To be accurate, one week does even not a month make. On the other hand, a bad month can make one weak. And here I’m going to shut up.)

OK, I lied. I’m just getting started. If you’re looking for signs of hope in the 2015 Atlanta Braves — a sign apart from them being 5-1 — you need look no further than their offensive stats.

Through six games, they’re seventh in the majors in batting average, 10th in runs, 13th in on-base percentage and 10th in batting average with runners in scoring position. They’re also third-best at not striking out.

Last season’s Braves were 26th in batting average, 29th in runs, 24th in on-base percentage and 28th with RISP. They were also the fourth-best — or fourth-worst, depending on your slant — at striking out.

Again, we note that a week is a small sample size, but still: The Braves seem to be making contact at a higher rate. With that contact has come a (slight) reduction in power. In 2013, when they led the National League in homers, they averaged 1.12 a game. Last year, when everything collapsed, they averaged 0.76 homers per game. Through six games, they’re averaging 0.67.

That’s not surprising. This lineup wasn’t designed to hit home runs; the one in 2013 was and did. (The one in 2014 was and didn’t.) Over the course of a six-month season, we’ll see if the emphasis on small ball bears fruit.

Oh, and one thing more: If you’re really wondering why the Braves are 5-1, check the pitching stats. They lead the majors in ERA. Roger McDowell and his merry men are at it again.

Reader Comments 0

53 comments
58Supersports
58Supersports

Thanks Mark always like you opinion of Braves... Go Braves!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Gattis appears to be having trouble adjusting to pitching in the AL 0 for 20 with 1 BB and 12K's.

ComaToes
ComaToes

Someone earlier was "dumping" on Uggla for his typical low batting average so far.  Well, take a look at the 2 ATL 2B who have been playing most of the time. Not much better at about .167 I think I saw.  What is it with the Braves and their second-baggers?  OH, BTW, anyone surprised the EY, Jr. is down at the bottom of the pile with his batting avg.?

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@ComaToes ^^^^Negative Nancy^^^.  The Braves are 6-1.  Must you always be a whiner?  Your husband must get sick of it.

Terrytime
Terrytime

I love the hits, this kind of baseball is so much more interesting.....don't look back, keep moving on! Go Braves!

dtanner311
dtanner311

freddi g early candidate for manager of the year,what you think mark

Wilbo
Wilbo

@dtanner311 A steaming glop of dog droppings has more chance being tabbed MOY than Fruitcake Fredi

SeanLB
SeanLB

I know its early, but...


Funny how we unloaded all of that "can't miss talent", yet appear to play better ball, isn't it?


Production trumps potential, folks.  I'm tired of hearing about how great so-and-so is going to be.  If they come out and hit .260 with 11 HRs, then you have a .260 hitter...not an MVP candidate.  Glad Hart had the guts to make the tough moves.  This year doesn't matter anyway - we're set in the farm and are finally back to being a fun ballclub to watch.  

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

All the "experts" are predicting a 4th or 5th place finish in the NL East.

Why not enjoy a nice 5-1 start, including a sweep of the retooled Marlins (in Miami) who are expected to challenge the favored Nationals for the division crown ?

How many of the same experts predicted Kansas City in last year's World Series?

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

2-2 in series played and won, vs. Division opponents. Nice start.


I'm rooting for Uggla to stick with the Nats a while longer . . .  ;)

chris_white1972
chris_white1972

Hey "glass half empty" guys/gals, when can we expect you to grow up and appreciate a good team for a change? Braves win first five games then lose one, big deal!! I/we should be excited to watch this fun group of players this year, if not, then why even follow them this year?

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@chris_white1972 b/c haters will hate chris...and it's always the usual suspects.  I love that you're calling out these silly trolls, they stay silent when we win thank goodness.


GO BRAVES

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@chris_white1972 Some folks just enjoy being unhappy.  There's 29 other major league teams to support if they're so unhappy with this one.

GSU93
GSU93

One week isn't enough time to start assessing this team IMO.  Too many "ifs"...  But a 5-1 start is much better than 1-5!!

reckingball
reckingball

Go Braves! Still in 1st in the NL East.

Birdhair
Birdhair

Mark Bradley should not be allowed to write an article about the braves. This is the same man who wrote an article titled "500 words in defense of Frank wren" late last season. Bradley backed frank the clown until the very end. Bradley is clueless. His articles are a joke. Did anyone see how badly bill shanks ripped ken rosenthal for backing clown? I bet Bradley takes his material from rosenthal. Talk about two clueless morons.

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

@Birdhair Don't forget all the negativity Bradley had for the current team and particularly for the signing of Markakis. Let Dave O'Brien write about the Braves.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@Birdhair  Everyone has different opinions, that's what makes this world so great.  I forgive him as I also make mistakes.

ComaToes
ComaToes

Just wait until Fredi "the genius" Gonzalez gets bored and starts playing tricks with the lineup.  I'm looking for a 10 game losing streak in the near future.  FG will be successful in pulling them down to his goal of "mediocrity".

bpgt
bpgt

@ComaToes  He has already started it.  The one guy that has played every game (Peterson) should have been the first one benched.  Go figure that one.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@ComaToes easy silly trolls their freaking 5-0!!!!  I guess you think Bobby Cox cant manage either huh idiot?

southgabrave
southgabrave

@ComaToes 


By calling people idiots that do not agree with your point of view, it makes you look small and insecure in your views.  Maybe you should debate your views by using facts and intelligence.  Some people have good points that you could listen to, and I am sure you have some we all would like to hear.


BTW, there are lots of people (I for one)  that think Bobby Cox was no more than an average game manager.  They point out he had 3 HOF pitcher and a possible future HOF 3B.  He also had many other very good players come through Atlanta.  Dave Justice, CrimeDog, Steve Avery and many more.  Did he get the most out of his teams?  Not in a lot of peoples minds, at least not in the playoffs.  Even when he was in Toronto, he won with superior talent, not a team of no-names.  He had very good players on his teams, un-like this years Braves team.  I don't think Bobby would get out of the basement with this team.

Mulk
Mulk

@southgabrave @ComaToes


S. Ga.,


Speaking of a lack of intelligence, Bobby Cox is a first ballot hall of famer. Average people do not get in the Hall of Fame, especially on the first ballot. That is a fact.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Perhaps a new Batting Coach actually CAN make a difference after all...

bpgt
bpgt

@JacketMan 

We have played 6 games.  It's still a bunch of free swingers.  No one in the lineup knows how to take a walk.  We are seeing fewer strikeouts, but we'll also see a lot more double plays at this rate.

TXBravesFan
TXBravesFan

LOL... wow, we are bragging about what a great hitting small ball team we are.. did anyone but me notice that the first three hitters in the lineup were all hitting .150 or less?  The only reason we are hitting for a team average that we are is a few players are hitting above or right at .500 which we all know will change.  We are 5 -1 only because our pitching has been so strong.. but as Freddie will screw up the pitchers as he did twice in the last two games when he left Teheran in for too long and stayed with Jamie even though he was wild as hell...  No this team will settle in and while it might be the worse team in the league.. it will be in the bottom third when the dust settles and the dog days of summer come upon us.  I flew home to take in the games this weekend.. and while it was fun... I will not spend money on this team until Hart spends money on this team!  Check out the payroll... one of the lowest in the league and we will get what Hart has paid for....  as I said early on... get use to a lot of 1 or 2 run loses... just like our first loss was...  this will be long season... a very long one as will next year... Hart will do nothing big for next year even though Dan "Hitless man" Ugly's salary will come off the books... but we will be fed more BS about 2017 being the year and more flexibility be held for "next year"  while the cash in the bank at the Liberty continues to grow and fans are given a fun, young product on the field but not many wins in the "W" column. 

Savdon
Savdon

@TXBravesFan "I flew home to take in the games this weekend.. and while it was fun... I will not spend money on this team until Hart spends money on this team!"

So you got to fly home and go to the games for free?  

oldschoolball
oldschoolball

Having gloves on the field help to make pitching work. There is no defense against a base on balls, so when the pitcher is confident ground balls will be fielded for outs and fly balls will be caught for outs, he is more likely to throw pitches that will put the ball in play, instead of trying to win by trying to strike hitters out which generally easily end up becoming base on balls. The game of baseball is about getting three outs so that you can get in to hit.

swimfin2
swimfin2

Uggla battting .111 with 5k's in 18 at bats. LOL

He'll be dumped soon enough. 

ComaToes
ComaToes

@swimfin2 As short as he is, he would make a really good "batboy" or "ballboy" !

swimfin2
swimfin2

So they are averaging almost the same amount of home runs so far this year as last year? Yet that's small ball. LOL

If you did any dd mark, you wouldn't have fallen for the sky is falling they will stink. Last year they were second from last in runs scored in mlb. So I don't know why so many thought this year would be so bad offensively. Last year WAS bad! 

And they still were good until the final 2 months even with all that. Pitching is what wins baseball games. Thought even you realized that. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

I sure will be happy when the Braves get well under .500 (as they certainly will) just so we won't have to hear about this decrepit organization.

GoBraves7777
GoBraves7777

@Wilbo 5-1, passion, enthusiasm, fun to watch, in every game, great stats.  Not sure what team you are referring to.   And BTW, definition of decrepit.... "worn out or ruined because of age or neglect"   

That hardly describes this young Braves team   Inexperienced perhaps, or lacking maturity, but decrepit?  Hardly.  If you are going to lambaste the team, at least use the correct word.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@PalmBeachFalcon @GoBraves7777 @Wilbo just like all the other silly little trolls..you have to really be a miserable human being to justify hating on here while we're 5-1...LOVE the post GoBraves7777


I think most of these idiots are miserable phillies/mets/nat fans

JCBraves
JCBraves

Move on, insufferable troll.