LIVE BLOG: Braves’ new objective is a .500 homestand

Freddie Freeman is one of the few hot-hitting Braves right now. (Curtis Compton/AJC).

Freddie Freeman is one of the few hot-hitting Braves right now. (Curtis Compton/AJC).

Good evening. Figured I would check in on another Atlanta team that will be leaving town soon — but just for a road trip.

The Braves, only 2-3 on this homestand and 30-26 overall after consecutive losses to San Diego, play host to the Padres again tonight. Tommy Hanson is pitching, but then who’s starting on the mound hasn’t really been the issue for the Braves this season. It’s the offense.

Here’s today’s news: Dan Uggla is back in the lineup after a day off but he has been dropped to seventh in the batting order by manager Fredi Gonzalez. The hot-hitting Freddie Freeman (.362 over his last 15 games) is hitting fifth and Alex Gonzalez is hitting sixth.

OK, here’s the good news: Uggla is 6-for-15 with three doubles in his career when batting seventh. See? There’s a positive stat for everything and everybody.

We can break down the offense 20 different ways, but the two biggest issues are Uggla and Jason Heyward. They were expected to be two of the team’s biggest run producers and power hitters and they haven’t come through.

Yes, Chipper Jones is struggling with a .257 average. But: 1) He also has delivered some big hits this season and; 2) He was a question mark coming into the year after major knee surgery. Expectations were uncertain. Uggla and Heyward were the gimmes.

Uggla averaged over 30 homers and 90 RBIs in the last five seasons at Florida. Heyward was coming off a great rookie season (.277, 18 homers, 72 RBIs). But now Uggla is hitting only .178 (his career average is .263 and last season he hit .287) and Heyward is on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and a .214 average.

The Braves need to win tonight just to salvage a .500 homestand. Following tonight’s game, they head out for a 10-game road trip to New York, Florida and Houston. Overall, the Braves’ home record (16-13) isn’t much better than their road record (14-13).

But hey, it’s June 1. It’s a new month. Let’s see if things change. I’ll be here to serve your blogging needs, starting with the first pitch.

By Jeff Schultz

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

183 comments Add your comment

T-Bone

June 1st, 2011
6:21 pm

T-Bone

June 1st, 2011
6:25 pm

Cool. Now for the question to Schultzie. Any guess how long Wren will wait until he makes some sort of move for a bat. How about McClouth and a minor league pitcher for heavy-hitting LF? Then we move Prado to short and make A-Gonz the super utility guy, like infante last year.

Rich

June 1st, 2011
6:25 pm

Jeff – . I assume Gonzalez is batting eighth, not seventh.

Here’s today’s news: Dan Uggla is back in the lineup after a day off but he has been dropped to seventh in the batting order by manager Fredi Gonzalez. The hot-hitting Freddie Freeman (.362 over his last 15 games) is hitting sixth and Alex Gonzalez is hitting seventh.

Casey Strikes Out

June 1st, 2011
6:28 pm

T-Bone-is that you have to offer?

joseph

June 1st, 2011
6:31 pm

T-Bone is crazy!

joseph

June 1st, 2011
6:33 pm

Uggla finishes year 240/25/75 and Heyward is healthy for second half of year we will be in the hunt to the end as long as bullpen doesn’t wear out! Jeff numbers for Uggla dreaming with where he is today????

The Grinch

June 1st, 2011
6:35 pm

I love how the national media treats the Braves. We get so little coverage Brian McCann (who single-handedly won the AS game for the NL last year) is trailing a guy with a broken leg. Very, very sad.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
6:45 pm

T-Bone — I don’t see Wren making any moves while guys are injured (assuming they’re not MAJOR injuries). He wants to see team healthy for a few weeks. Plus, nobody around baseball dealing right now. Teams still evaluating.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
6:47 pm

Rich — Let’s try this again: Freeman fifth, Gonzalez sixth, Uggla seventh, Mather eighth.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
6:48 pm

Joseph — Let’s just say Uggla better get real hot real soon for him to hit his career averages.

What??

June 1st, 2011
6:49 pm

T-Bone – Don’t hold your breath for the Braves to move Gonzalez from SS. If anything, he is a great defensive SS. I just wish he wasn’t such a damn hack at the plate. Why any pitcher throws him a strike is beyond me. I saw the other day that he swings at 48% of pitches out of the strike zone. 48%!!! That’s crazy!!!

The Nature Boy

June 1st, 2011
7:06 pm

I say we stick with Schaffer in CF…he’s a legit leadoff man…(the ONLY guy we have that I can say that about) I’m on board with T-bone on trading McClouth…

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:10 pm

Not the way you draw it up . . .

Cousin Vicker

June 1st, 2011
7:12 pm

Time to watch for which Hanson fastball shows up tonight… 88-89 or 92-94. So far at 90. Most pitchers have fairly consistent speeds. Hanson does not. But I guess I am the only one who finds it strange. Not a real fan of this guy.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:13 pm

Hello, I’m back . . . game time temperature: 94 degrees.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:15 pm

Rutherford Seydel — No problem. Can I borrow a 10 spot?

Rutherford Seydel

June 1st, 2011
7:15 pm

Is it cool if I take my shoes off and prop them up on the back of your seat? Thanks.

Cousin Vicker

June 1st, 2011
7:16 pm

And if he gets a runner on base… forget about it. The guy is going to take second. Sid Bream could steal off this guy. Sid Bream of RIGHT NOW

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:19 pm

The Nature Boy — If Shafer plays well, he stays. No doubt in my mind.

MWC

June 1st, 2011
7:21 pm

That could have been bad for Chipper….

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:21 pm

Freeman being hot and batting fifth means it’s harder to pitch around McCann here.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:22 pm

If memory serves, that’s called a double. Braves have a scoring threat.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:24 pm

Good hustle by old guy but he’s down and limping . . . no, he’s up!

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:25 pm

We was holding our breath when Chipper went down.

Rutherford Seydel

June 1st, 2011
7:26 pm

Well, Eddie Peskowitz muscled me into paying up on the money I owed him, so I’m all out of cash. How about a few coupons for free coffee at any Monday night Hawks game next year?

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:27 pm

Jeff, did you mention our idea to Uggla about him eating some hot peppers?

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:27 pm

Three straight hits and it’s 1-0. Nice hitting by McCann going the other way.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:28 pm

Sonny Clusters — You’s wasn’t the only one.

MWC

June 1st, 2011
7:28 pm

rats………..

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:29 pm

First pitch friggin popup? Seriously?

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:29 pm

Freeman’s tear continues and it’s 2-0. He’s become such a good hitter, not forcing anything. Very McCann like in that way.

Cousin Vicker

June 1st, 2011
7:29 pm

And there is Hanson’s run support. Wow 2 runs now!Go get em tommy

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:30 pm

Sonny Clusters (on the hot peppers): Sorry, missed that one.

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:31 pm

We was thinking some hot peppers might help him get started. Being a slow starter must be very hard on a baseball player who hasn’t started by June. Please mention it to him when you talk with him.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:31 pm

And that’s five straight hits, bases juiced for Dan Uggla . . . Predictions?

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:32 pm

StingerSplash — “Struggla” . . . that one may stick.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 1st, 2011
7:32 pm

Too, too mant teams left in it to start the dealing machine. And here’ssssssssss Uglla!

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:34 pm

Uggla says it’s not mechanical but we’re pretty sure you’re not supposed to end up like that after a swing. This reminds us of Andruw when he had that wide stance and everybody was getting him out.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:34 pm

Sonny Clusters — Aug. 18 on Uggla Bobblehead night. Looked that one up the other night.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 1st, 2011
7:34 pm

And Joe Mathers as the Beaver!

StingerSplash

June 1st, 2011
7:34 pm

Wow. Just when things couldn’t get worse for Struggla. At least he didn’t line into triple play. Yes, I know there was one out. But the way he’s going, I think he’d find a way to do it.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 1st, 2011
7:36 pm

Dan has seen too many the “Art of diving” into pitches by AJ.

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:37 pm

We was wondering when Dan Uggla Bobblehead Night is going to be? Imagine the little head falling off and rolling under the table.

Fu'ggla

June 1st, 2011
7:37 pm

can’t cure a mental case like Uggla with just one day off …. Zito at one point was a multimillion dollar reliever maybe Uggla needs to become a multimillion dollar Triple A player for about a month …..

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:38 pm

Jeff, it is okay if we have a few Uggla jokes tonight, right?

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 1st, 2011
7:39 pm

Looper Hoss just threw, best pitch o9f his life.

Jeff Schultz

June 1st, 2011
7:42 pm

Hanson gives up homer to .167 hitting Kyle Phillips, and it’s 2-2.

Sonny Clusters

June 1st, 2011
7:43 pm

Whoa! Hanson can’t hold the lead. We was hoping they could lead for an inning.

Knockahoma

June 1st, 2011
7:43 pm

Knockahoma

June 1st, 2011
7:44 pm

Jeff, without looking how many padres can you name?