On April 28, the Atlanta Braves lost to the Washington Nationals on a ninth-inning home run hoisted by Dan Uggla, of all people. On Aug. 18, the same Braves — actually, by now they’re rather different — lost to the San Diego Padres on a night when Melvin Upton Jr., of all people, hit two two-run homers.
Wait. It gets stranger. Upton was only in the Padres’ lineup because Will Venable had been traded before the game.
Wait again. Upton also had a run-scoring single. He had three hits and five RBIs on the night. Only once in two seasons as a Brave did he have two home runs in a game; only twice did he have three hits; not once did he have more than three RBIs.
It’s not as if Upton had been having a big season after being shipped out on the eve of Opening Day. He’d missed the first 2 1/2 months due to injury and played sparingly since. Before Tuesday’s game, he was hitting .225 with an on-base percentage of .290; he’d hit three homers and driven in eight runs. If he has been slightly better as a Padre (WAR value of 0.7) than as a Brave, that’s only because he was utterly awful as a Brave (two-year WAR rating of minus-2.2).
If there’s any consolation in seeing the player formerly known as B.J. light up the team that lavished the infamous $75.25 million contract on him, it was this: The Braves are no longer paying Upton. On the night Uggla beat them, the Braves were paying him more than anyone on the current roster.