LIVE BLOG: Braves still waiting for bats to wake up

Brian McCann actually hasn't been a problem for the Braves' offense this season but this strikeout Friday night typified their frustration in a 5-1 loss. (AP photo)

Brian McCann actually hasn't been a problem for the Braves' offense this season but this strikeout Friday night typified their frustration in a 5-1 loss to Cincinnati. (AP photo)

There’s a baseball adage that you don’t look at the standings until after Memorial Day. If that same philosophy applies to statistics, the Braves hope their bats wake up sometime during this holiday weekend.

After Friday’s 5-1 loss to Cincinnati, the Braves go into tonight’s second game of the series with a .242 batting average and having scored two runs or fewer in 18 games this season (4-14 in those games) and three or fewer in 26 (7-19). It’s actually remarkable that they still have a winning record (28-24), given that they rank in the bottom 10 in the majors in batting average, runs scored and on-base percentage.

Dan Uggla, who was expected to be one of their biggest run producers, is hitting only .183 (just 50 points ahead of tonight’s starting pitcher, Derek Lowe at .133). Chipper Jones, who has battled knee and hamstring injuries, has seen his average drop from. 291. to .259 in 15 games. In the month of May, Jason Heyward has had more MRIs on his shoulder (two) than he has RBIs (zero).

Manager Fredi Gonzalez held court with the media a little while ago. He says he is not worried. He’s convinced that eventually, “The water will rise to its level,” or something like that.

Certainly, the resumes of the players on the roster suggest things will turn at some point. But 52 games into the season, concern is growing.

Let me just add this: If this was a year ago, many fans would be screaming for the firing of former hitting coach Terry Pendleton (who’s now the first base coach). I’m not assigning blame to his replacement, Larry Parrish. Rather, this just reaffirms what players will tell you: Hitting coaches can only do so much.

Tonight’s Reds starter is Bronson Arroyo, who was rocked in his last outing at Philadelphia for nine runs, 10 hits and two home runs in only 2.2 innings. In his previous start, he allowed five runs, seven hits and two homers in seven innings to Pittsburgh. So this would seem like a good chance for the Braves’ offense to get well.

Then again, Arroyo might view this is a chance for him to turn his season around.

I’ll be blogging live from the first pitch on. Until then, do you think the end of the Braves’ slump is near?

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

196 comments Add your comment

ted williams head

May 28th, 2011
5:59 pm

never thought id say it but bring back TP please

ted williams head

May 28th, 2011
6:11 pm

1st is for teenage boys

Brian

May 28th, 2011
6:12 pm

First! and they will

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 28th, 2011
6:17 pm

Yes they will. TP got the 1st base job from Gonzo becuase he held the shin guards better than the other candidates.

ernisTbass

May 28th, 2011
6:21 pm

Fredi needs to tell Uggla to stop trying to prove he is worth 58 mil because he isn’t, nobody is,so forget about it and go play ball, no player is worth more than a doctor who save lives on a regular basis or even the EMT guys that save lives on a daily basis at car wrecks or whatever. You play ball and get way overpaid for it, all of them do. Consider it a blessing , get over it and go hit

MattyB

May 28th, 2011
6:31 pm

Too much talent and too much experience. The bats will eventually come around. But it’d better be soon. Another 52 games like this and we could be out of contention.

Ghost Chaser

May 28th, 2011
6:32 pm

Find Bobby Cox, get him to cheer the guys on when they are at bat!!! Fredi never says a word other than to “tip my cap”. These guys are used to hearing their nicknames yelled from the dugout while they bat! At least play a recording of Cox hollering . . . anything to calm their nerves so they concentrate on the ball meeting their bat’s “sweet spot”. Booobbbbbyyyyy!

Stinger2

May 28th, 2011
6:32 pm

Just read another round of doomsday post from DOB`s blog. Most of the negative post are the same old. Uggla bashers, Freddi, Frank Wren and so on. Thank goodness Braves management does not listen to all these wantabe managers. If they made some of the moves and trades suggested,
there would be a real mess and cause for concern.

Ghost Chaser

May 28th, 2011
6:34 pm

Danny Uggla should wear a retro uniform (Marlins) every game and see if that gets him going as a Brave.

Bravissimo

May 28th, 2011
6:45 pm

Jeff, Glad to see youre at the game and hope they feed you well!
As a long time Braves fan,Im never WORRIED. Things do have a way of coming full circle and as much as I dislike watching a frustrating game like last nights,I have lots of experience with it so let the cards fall where they may.
Like a wise man once said, youre gonna win about 55 games,youre gonna lose about 55 games. Its what you do with the other 55 that makes or breaks your season.
And before any of you wags tell me that 55 x 3 dosnt equal 162, save your keystrokes.

jimmya

May 28th, 2011
6:46 pm

thinking the problem just might be the scouts who draft our players good ones few and far between

Sonny Clusters

May 28th, 2011
6:46 pm

Well, we have to tip our cap . . . Jeff knew all along that Dan Uggla was a slow starter. Here is is May 28 and Uggla’s still getting ready to get started. Coach always told us to be ready and we was. Now, there are several topics we’d like to discuss here . . . batting .183 is bad enough but batting .183 and swinging at bad pitches and landing on his knees when he misses, would make us think that Dan Uggla may have been working out with you-know-who and you-know-who is now hitting like Dan Uggla and Dan Uggla isn’t hitting like you-know-who. Next, we was of the opinion that Fredi wouldn’t be using pet names for the players and we was wondering if he is considering using pet names for them going forward? And what would Fredi’s pet name be for Uggla? We was thinking of a few . . .

Sonny Clusters

May 28th, 2011
6:47 pm

Jeff, we was wondering about Ted Williams’ frozen head and if you could bring us up to date on what is going on with it? Also, from where you’re sitting can you see us out in right field?

Bravissimo

May 28th, 2011
6:51 pm

Sonny, whats the blizzard of the month coming up ?

Sonny Clusters

May 28th, 2011
6:53 pm

Not even Warren Buffett can tell us what the Blizzard of the Month will be before June 1. That is top secret stuff. We remember last year it was Pecan Pie Blizzard and that is not one of our favorites because of the little pieces of aluminum pie pan in the cup.

Sonny Clusters

May 28th, 2011
7:00 pm

When we was going through the TSA line at the airport they asked us what we was carrying with us and we told them we had an AJC in our pocket so we could read Jeff on the airplane. That’s when all h3ll broke loose and they threw us against a wall and searched us good. Is there something we should know about that?

Vain Jangling

May 28th, 2011
7:06 pm

The fact that we’re still hanging tough in the division tells you just how important good pitching, like ours, really is.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:11 pm

Bravissimo — My choices from the $10 media buffet were a turkey sandwich, green salad and fruit salad. Thank you for asking. Next, 27 cups of coffee.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:13 pm

Sonny — I had me a little lemon and raspberry sorbet out of my freezer last night and did not see Ted Williams’ head anywhere …. And yes, I think I can make out some fuzzy image of you in right field. There’s mustard on your shirt.

aswingruber

May 28th, 2011
7:14 pm

Nice comment about TP there, Jeff.. I got sick of reading the know-it-all bloggers call for Terry’s head in past seasons. This ain’t little league. These guys are big league hitters. Success or failure falls squarely on the shoulders of the guy taking cuts in the batter’s box, and the guy making $58 million isn’t the one getting fired for failure. Hitting coaches are fall guys when hitters underachieve, but are revered when their squad mashes. That’s just how it goes.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:15 pm

And the Reds have a man on. There goes the no-hitter.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:17 pm

Two batters — Lowe hasn’t fooled either. Hard-hit out.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:18 pm

Aswingruber — Thanks.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:19 pm

Lowe so far: single, line drive out, wild pitch and two walks. Bases juiced.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:23 pm

Lowe threw 23 pitches in the first.

ted williams head

May 28th, 2011
7:23 pm

im right here sonny

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:24 pm

Got out of that one . . . somehow.

Bravissimo

May 28th, 2011
7:25 pm

There we go…Lowe was just making it exciting

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:27 pm

That’s Chipper’s team leading 27th walk.

bill

May 28th, 2011
7:29 pm

well hell we all caught the ball and threw the ball now lets hit the ball

bill

May 28th, 2011
7:30 pm

lowe must have his attorney in the duggout he got out of a big jam

Bravissimo

May 28th, 2011
7:30 pm

Sonny…u must have inside info on blizzard flavors, no?
if not does you know who?…lol

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:32 pm

Bill — “Lowe must have his attorney in the duggout he got out of a big jam” … Line of the day.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:33 pm

Clutch hitting (remember that?). Hinske comes through with RBI single — this all comes with 2 outs.

Elonbrave

May 28th, 2011
7:33 pm

A FIRST INNING RUN?!?!?! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!!

1eyedJack

May 28th, 2011
7:34 pm

Suddenly I have an urge to go to Dairy Queen.

Tom Emanski

May 28th, 2011
7:36 pm

Schultz will you pass along a message to Uggla. Simple fix in his swing. The problem is not mechanics or approach, much simpler. When he was in Florida he would square his head to the pitcher giving him an unobstructed view of the pitcher. He now has his head less square maybe due to less flexibility or even larger deltoids. Nonetheless he is having to stare over the bridge of his nose making it more difficult for him to recognize pitches early.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:36 pm

And Uggla strands 2 more runners. But Braves up 1-0.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:39 pm

Tom Emanski — I’ll pass a long the “Simply fix your swing” advice right after the “Just hit the ball!” tip somebody gave me.

1eyedJack

May 28th, 2011
7:42 pm

Sonny, you didn’t show them TSA folks Jeff’s picture did you? Thats probably what set ‘em off. ;)

Bravissimo

May 28th, 2011
7:43 pm

Tom, maybe he should just visit a plastic surgeon for a smaller nose??

Bravissimo

May 28th, 2011
7:45 pm

Tom Emanski

May 28th, 2011
7:45 pm

Watch Gonzo’s set up. Granted in that at bat he took what the pitcher gave him. I’m not one to support changing Uggla’s approach to become a spray hitter. Just as many defenders on the left as right side.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:47 pm

Freeman leads off with a double. Still eight more batters until Uggla gets up.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:47 pm

Shafer now 5 for 15 (.333) since callup.

Elonbrave

May 28th, 2011
7:48 pm

Yeah, Uggla popped up, etc…. but it was a good AB. Worked a full count from being down 0-2, didn’t chase Arroyo’s big breaker. I will take that.

Jeff Schultz

May 28th, 2011
7:49 pm

Great bunt by Shafer. Blindsided Reds defense with that one. 2-0.

chipontheroadbirdsrus

May 28th, 2011
7:49 pm

Yes Shaeffer playin ball

Elonbrave

May 28th, 2011
7:50 pm

Schafer has been interesting…

Elonbrave

May 28th, 2011
7:52 pm

I’m loving our approach tonight. When you’re not hitting, small ball it up. Just don’t get picked off at first ;)