Jeff Francoeur, now with Philadelphia, entered Monday’s game at Turner Field hitting .169 with four RBIs and five extra-base hits. Against the team that drafted him, nurtured him and dumped him, he went 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBIs.
If you thought, “Well, this looks familiar” … that’s because it was. One week earlier, Dan Uggla made his post-Braves return carrying a .114 batting average with one RBI and two extra-base hits, entering in the fifth inning only because Yunel Escobar, yet another alum, had been spiked. Over the next 2 1/2 games, Uggla would go 5-for-11 with eight RBIs and three extra-base hits, the most notable a game-winning three-run homer with one out in the ninth.
Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. The winning pitcher in last night’s game was Aaron Harang, who worked for the Braves (quite well) last season.
Once the toast of his hometown, Francoeur was dumped in 2009 — traded to the Mets for Ryan Church, to be precise — and is now on his seventh big-league team; Uggla was jettisoned last summer after 3 1/2 seasons of massively diminishing returns; Harang was allowed to leave as a free agent because the Braves didn’t want to pay the going rate. (Which turned out to be $5 million for one year, or $500,000 less than the Braves are paying Trevor Cahill, already banished to the bullpen.)
Nobody would seriously suggest the Braves were wrong to cut ties with Francoeur or Uggla. (We can argue about Harang, though.) The greater point is that the Braves, who started 5-0 but have lost 14 of 21 since, aren’t very good, and they dumped so many big names this offseason that they’ll be bumping into many more alums. They’ll see San Diego, which employs Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton and the foot-rehabbing Melvin Upton Jr., next month. They’ll see St. Louis, which employs Jason Heyward, in July.
Unless the Braves make the World Series, there’s no chance they’ll see Houston, for whom Evan Gattis has begun to hit. (He started the season 0-for-20.) He had four homers and eight RBIs in the first-place Astros’ weekend sweep of Seattle.