McLouth’s average rising since drop to 8-hole

SAN DIEGO – All it took to get Nate McLouth going was dropping him to the bottom of the Braves’ batting order.

Actually, the Braves center fielder thinks the timing of his little surge and being dropped from the No. 2 spot was coincidental. But he sure won’t complain about hitting in the 8-hole.

“It doesn’t matter where I’m hitting, I just feel like I’ve had good at-bats,” said McLouth, who hit .320 with three doubles and three RBIs in the past seven games before Monday night’s series opener against San Diego, including a two-out, tie-breaking, two-run single in the 10th inning of Sunday’s 9-6 win at San Francisco.

McLouth hit .217 before he was dropped from the 2-hole on April 17, when manager Fredi Gonzalez moved Jason Heyward up from sixth to second.

“I didn’t feel like I was having bad at-bats earlier, I just feel like now I’m starting to roll a little bit,” McLouth said. “I think it’s coincidence, though, as far as moving in the order.”

Whatever it is, he and the Braves hope it continues. McLouth had the biggest at-bat of their young season on Sunday, taking two strikes to run the count full against Giants closer Brian Wilson before his bases-loaded single to center. He hit seventh Sunday because rookie shortstop Brandon Hicks was in the 8-hole.

McLouth was back hitting eighth for Monday’s game. He had a .438 average (7-for-16) with three doubles and a .550 on-base percentage in five games in the 8-hole.

“I thought his at-bats in the 2-hole were OK,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday. “I mean, it wasn’t like we were overmatched. It [8-hole] is a good spot for us right now, turning over [the lineup].”

Teammates like having him there to balance the lineup.

“Then the pitcher can get up there and put down a bunt, and then you’ve got Martin [Prado] and me and everybody else, the heavy hitters after us,” Heyward said. “It’s great to have Nate on base.”

Some hitters don’t like the idea of hitting eighth in front of the pitcher and perhaps not getting many pitches to hit. McLouth doesn’t mind.

“I’m not afraid to hit in front of the pitcher,” he said. “It really doesn’t affect you except in certain situations, like maybe with two outs and a guy in scoring position. But I feel comfortable hitting in front of the pitcher.”

29 comments Add your comment

IdahoBravesFan

April 25th, 2011
10:17 pm

First, and thrilled to see Nate hitting!

katherine

April 25th, 2011
10:20 pm

I’m worried about Lowe..another bad first inning

Braves Fan Since "80

April 25th, 2011
10:25 pm

I hope he has found his stroke and now can concentrate on his throwing

ColoradoBravesFan

April 25th, 2011
10:29 pm

How was that a bad first inning? Swinging bunt infield hit that Chipper could not make a play on, high hopper over the mound that gets thru the infield. 2 on none out, then Lowe gets an out, and then 2 strike outs. Seems like Lowe was a veteran that didn’t get rattled when 2 lucky breaks go the Pads way, settles down and doesn’t let them score. Great inning by Lowe.

GO BRAVES…

Beach Dawg

April 25th, 2011
10:36 pm

So “hole” is the word de jour! “won’t complain about hitting in the 8-hole” “because rookie shortstop Brandon Hicks was in the 8-hole.” “his at-bats in the 2-hole were OK”. “It [8-hole] is a good spot” Only used 7 times in a very short article

Bill

April 25th, 2011
10:54 pm

So u the judge beach dawg…..are o-hole

UGAFAN13

April 25th, 2011
11:02 pm

What we are seeing is the emergence of the Derreck Lowe from last season. He has sucked his last two starts!

UGAFAN13

April 25th, 2011
11:03 pm

I should have qualified my last statement with the begining of last season.

morgan

April 25th, 2011
11:15 pm

Derreck allways has an idea what to do.He might not allways make the pitch he was shooting for but he is allways shooting.He is a pro.A shooter.

Johnny Beach

April 25th, 2011
11:39 pm

Give Nate his due……………..He almost took the SF pitcher’s head off with that line drive to win the game.

Quicherbichin

April 25th, 2011
11:39 pm

UGAFAN13-

Lowe’s last start, which wason short rest, I would cosider bad. 3 runs in 6 innings means he has done his job. Do I expect better from a 15 million dollar pitcher? surely. but at least 2 of his losses were due to poor hitting. Please cease and desist in your whiny high voice.

Kane337

April 26th, 2011
12:08 am

Linebrink sucks so bad. Nice pickup Wren.

mathman

April 26th, 2011
12:49 am

McLouth is reverting back to same ole McLouse. Avg at .240 and dropping. 0-4 tonight wtih 2 K’s.. Well, he won the game yesterday. But, he is not going to hit above .225.

mathman

April 26th, 2011
12:50 am

Gearrin has pitched a shutout inning in his ML debut. Now, if we could bring up Marek and Abreu. Both have ERA’s of 0.00 at Gwinnett.

Caseyatthebat

April 26th, 2011
12:51 am

C’mon O’BrIen! What do we need Sherrill and Linebrink for?

extremus

April 26th, 2011
1:29 am

We’ve all heard of the hypothetical irresistible force vs. immovable object scenario. How about two immovable objects? With two of the most anemic offenses in baseball facing two of the best bullpens, the Braves and Padres are like watching two armless men trying to box. Not exactly making for riveting television.

It’s 1:30 am and I’m off to bed; I’ll catch the final score tomorrow, assuming either team can score and win the game before then.

mathman

April 26th, 2011
1:56 am

Braves bullpen blows another one tonight. O’Flaherty and Linebrink blow the lead and in the 12th Cristian Martinez gives up a 2 run HR to Ludwick. Fredi doesn’t use Sherrill again tonight, and doesn’t use Ascencio or Kimbrel either. Fredi just is not a good strategist.

In the top of the 12th, McClouth singles, but Martinez can’t get the bunt down. So, Martinez on first with 1 out, and Prado hits a fly ball down the right field line. RF makes a great play and Martinez is doubled off the bag.

yogi

April 26th, 2011
2:24 am

If you think Linebrink sucks! take a look at Brooks Conrad He has only one hit this year a .100 average and cannot field his position. Hands of stone. Even the other teams fans boo him. Send him home and bring up a real ballplayer.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

[...] Going into Monday night’s game, the Braves‘ Nate McLouth had settled into the 8 hole nicely. McLouth was hitting over .300 in the past week hitting 8th. [...]

AthensBrave

April 26th, 2011
7:48 am

Nate needs to stay there to. Our bullpen is honestly looking a little shaky early. But we started out 8-14 in the first month last year and we have already won 11 games in the first month this year so we will be alright.

Chuck M.

April 26th, 2011
12:15 pm

I agree Conrad needs to go down,and bring up Wilkin,in fact I am not that impressed with Matt Young.

Steve

April 26th, 2011
1:25 pm

To all of you griping about Derek Lowe .. stop focusing on one-inning. Last time I checked Hudson and Hanson haven’t been lighting it up in the first inning either. When you think about it, the pitcher is still not into a rythym, and he is facing the ‘perfect’ setup for the hitting team. Seriously folks. LET IT GO!

DLowe pitched a very solid game last night. He pitched three gems in his first three and decently in his fourth. Out of five starts this year, he has had exactly 1 bad outing. What in the world do you people want from him?

He has done exactly what the Braves are paying him to do. Eat innings and stay off the DL. If you remember they brought him in because all of our starters were going on the DL one or two times a year and it was chewing up our bullpen. DLowe and Hudson’s return from injury are the two biggest reasons our bullpen has been so good the last two years. When those guys only have to pitch 2 out of every 6 games instead of 3 it allows them to be much more effective.

Let’s also not shy away from another fact. DLowe is winning games. You can say he is winnnig because of run support, but the opposite also holds true .. his ERA is higher than it should be due to that run support because he is a smart pitcher and pitches to contact when he has a lead.

Lowe is doing a fine job. Hudson is doing a great job. Hanson is doing a great job. Those three guys are taking so much heat off the bullpen that it allows us to pull JJ and our 5th starters over the last two seasons earlier in the game and protect their arms a little. Let the hatred go.

As for our bench discussion, I know its a bit early in the year, but sheesh. None of our bench guys is playing well right now. I don’t think Young is a good decision, but the reality is the Braves wuld rather be getting more at bats for their larger upside players that are younger (Ramirez, Shafer). I think the Braves also hoped that with regaulr ab’s that Mather would start ripping like he is capable of, and then they could bring him up. Needless to say, I think the bench is the Braves biggest weakness right now. Only two reliable hitters (Hinske and Conrad) and they have not done anything yet. The rest of the guys on the bench (not counting Ross), have little to count on offensively or defensively.

Hi Im a loosing managar

April 26th, 2011
2:56 pm

Sum one help me keep from loosing all the time.

Smiling Jack

April 26th, 2011
5:27 pm

Braves manager will be a winning manager! It’s a long season. Give up the hate and give them a chance. Go Braves!

Trbodawg

April 26th, 2011
5:51 pm

I recommend Kaopectate™ for all your ‘loosing’ needs…

yogi

April 26th, 2011
6:14 pm

W Ramerez now has hit 4 homeruns for Gwinnett

nique

April 26th, 2011
7:15 pm

Keep it up Nate!

John10:10

April 26th, 2011
9:44 pm

Rock on Nate, faith is the substance of things not seen.

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