The Braves haven’t hit yet. They’re 13th in the National League in batting, 12th in slugging percentage, 15th (of 16 teams) in on-base percentage. And it isn’t Terry Pendleton’s fault! He’s coaching first base this year!
The batting order that was supposed to be armor-plated includes Nate McLouth, who’s hitting .219, and two guys hitting worse. Dan Uggla is at .176, Freddie Freeman at .172.
It was only a year ago that the everyday eight had holes galore: Troy Glaus and Melky Cabrera and Yunel Escobar weren’t hitting, and McLouth wasn’t hitting then, either. And in the season’s 11th game, absolutely nobody got a hit against Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez. Today’s game is the 10th of 2011, so we could be getting near tha time.
Or not. These Braves aren’t going to be futile forever. (Well, McLouth might be. But surely not Uggla.) And today’s opposing pitcher carries an ERA of 20.25. His name is Cole Hamels, and he has a history of being pretty darn good, but he was pretty darn bad in his first start: He retired eight Mets while yielding six hits, two walks and six earned runs.
So maybe this is the day the Braves break loose. Or maybe it’s the day Hamels throws a Ubaldo. Whatever happens, I’ll be here to chronicle the action, or the lack of same. And I’d appreciate it if you’d join me. We had much fun yesterday, did we not?
By Mark Bradley