Found April 07, 2013 on
The Atlanta Braves have come out of the gates hot in the first week of the 2013 season, winning two out of three games against the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies and sweeping the Chicago Cubs to start the season with a 5-1 record, tying the team with the Diamondbacks and the Rockies for the best record in Major League Baseball.
Although it all comes down to the numbers in the win/loss column, that does not mean we cannot look at the past six games and gauge this year’s edition of the Braves. Here’s a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the Bravos thus far:
The Good: Hitting for Power. Just as most expected to come into the season, Atlanta’s scoring has come primarily via the long ball, which has the team ranked 4th in all of MLB with ten dingers through six games. The source of the majority of this power has been new acquisition Justin Upton, whose five homeruns through the first five games gave him the record for the most for any Atlanta player through the first five games of a season.
“Yes, Mr. Upton, you are indeed cleared for take-off”
The Bad: Establishing a Replacement for McCann. Honestly, this is a great problem to have for the Braves because of the early success of both veteran Gerald Laird (.400 batting average with 4 hits and 1 RBI) and rookie Evan Gattis (.364 batting average with 4 hits, 1 RBI, and possibly the greatest first homerun ever).The initial plan looked like the team wanted Laird to play the majority of the games during Brian McCann’s absence (the six-time All-Star is due back to the team in about two weeks), but Gattis is definitely playing like a man that wants more playing time.
The Ugly: Avoiding the Dreaded “K”: While the team has had a lot of luck knocking the ball out of the park, it has not been able to avoid its fair share of swings and misses, as the team has ranked up forty-seven strikeouts, fifteen more than their adversaries that call Philadelphia and Chicago home. Nearly half of these strikeouts have been accounted to the aforementioned Upton (11 strikeouts in 22 at-bats) as well as his brother B.J. (9 strikeouts in 20 at-bats), proving that “all-or-nothing” did not just describe the Braves’ offseason spending spree.
Highlight of the Homestand: Saturday’s 6-5 Victory over the Cubs. In case you missed out on one of the best finishes in recent Braves history, the Braves found themselves down 5-1 going into the eighth inning when the team brought in three runs in the eighth via single from Freddie Freeman that brought Justin Upton home and a single by Ramiro Pena that brought in Dan Uggla and Freeman to close the gap to 5-4. The ninth saw the Super Smash Brothers go into action, as B.J. Upton homered to center (he had gone 0-for-16 with 9 strikeouts prior to that jack) to tie the game at 5 and Justin sent a shot to straightaway center to give Atlanta an exciting come-from-behind victory thanks to the siblings from Norfolk, Virginia.
Low Point of the Homestand: Thursday’s 2-0 Loss to the Phillies. To paraphrase Harry Doyle, “Two hits? That’s all they got, two hits?” The Braves struggled to do anything against Cliff Lee on this night, managing just a single by Dan Uggla in the bottom of the 2nd along with a single by Justin Upton in the bottom of the 4th against the 2008 Cy Young winner in a defeat that undoubtedly frustrated starter Kris Medlen. Unfortunately for Medlen and the other members of the pitching rotation, this offseason will have its fair share of games that mirror this loss.
What to Watch For Over the Next Two Series: Keep an eye on how the Braves’ pitchers handle Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins along with Bryce Harper of the Nationals. In Stanton’s case, handling the twenty-three year old should mean three wins for the road team; in Harper’s case, it will only help the Braves’ chances against a high-power Washington bats.
Stat of the Week: 17. Justin and B.J.’s homeruns in the 9th inning of Saturday’s game marked the first time in seventeen years that a pair of brothers homered in the same inning. The last time it happened was 1996, when Cal Ripken, Jr. and Billy Ripken both went yard for the Baltimore Orioles.
BEST OF MAXIM
Video: Bossman Sr. would be proud
The acquisition of Justin Upton is already paying dividends for the Atlanta Braves. On Friday night the outfielder connected on his third home run of the season providing all the offense the Braves needed in a win over the Chicago Cubs.
Upton bumped his average up to .308 after the home run. He also added a sacrifice fly and now has five RBI though the seasons first four games.
The Atlanta Braves have played seven games so far this year, and have won six. As it stands, new left fielder Justin Upton has hit a homerun for each win. In addition to the six homers, Upton has two doubles, … Continue reading →
ATLANTA -- Some stories are too good to be true.
No, Roy Hobbs didnt shatter the lights at New York stadium in his last at-bat. That was a movie. So was the one where the ghost of Kevin Costners dad came walking out of an Iowa cornfield to play catch.
But Saturday night in Atlanta was very real indeed. And for the first time in the history of baseball, brothers hit ninth inning...
The Atlanta Braves held the Florida Marlins to two hits on Monday night behind seven strong innings from starter Paul Maholm. Braves outfielder Justin Upton connected with his major league best sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning providing more then enough offense for the visitors.
Maholm allowed just one hit and three walks while striking out seven to pick up his second...
B.J. and Justin Upton never had the nerve to imagine an ending like the one they provided Saturday night - not even after they both moved to the Atlanta Braves this offseason.
One brother homers to tie it in the ninth. The other homers to win it.
''We'd never dreamed of being on the same team, much less coming out here and doing that,'' B.J. Upton said. '...
Justin Upton is hitting enough for an entire team.
The slugging outfielder went 4 for 4, including his sixth home run, and Paul Maholm allowed one hit in seven innings to help the Atlanta Braves spoil the Miami Marlins' home opener Monday night by winning 2-0.
Upton scored both runs and doubled the Marlins' hit total. The Braves won despite going 0 for 7 with runners in...
BJ Upton (left) and Justin Upton became the first brothers in major league history to homer to tie, then win a game Saturday against Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.
I mentioned earlier this week how Carlos Marmol has been absolutely dreadful for the Cubs.
Now he’s so bad he’s in the record books.
Marmol allowed the game-tying home run to B.J. Upton, then the walk-off winner to his...
After just four and a half games, some fans in Atlanta were getting tired of BJ Upton. He started his Braves career by going 0/16, and some fans were clamoring for the return of Michael Bourn. Of course, every player has gone in a slump before, let alone one as short as 16 at bats, so the concern was a bit ridiculous. But things were much more rosy for BJ's brother Justin, who...
MIAMI (AP) --Justin Upton went 4 for 4, including his sixth home run, and Paul Maholm allowed one hit in seven sharp innings to help the Atlanta Braves spoil the Miami Marlins' home opener Monday by winning 2-0.
The Braves earned their fourth consecutive victory and improved to 6-1, their best start since 2007. The Marlins lost their third game in a row and fell to 1-6, their...
KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER!
Team News and Notes
Atlanta Braves (6-1)
The Braves currently sit in first place in the NL East, and new addition Justin Upton is a major reason why. The 25-year-old has batted .423/.448/1.192 to start the season, with six bombs and eight RBI. The other half of the Upton brothers, B.J., has struggled to hit himself out of a barn batting...
Freeman’s bat will be missed
Braves hot-hitting first baseman Freddie Freeman has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right oblique. The concern is that oblique injuries can often linger well beyond the initial diagnosis.
Freeman has been an anchor at the clean up spot so far this season, hitting .412 with 1 homer and 7 RBIs. He has provided valuable protection...