Braves Quick Hits
Now that they have completed an 8-3 road trip, the Braves attempt to take advantage of a chance to extend their momentum over the next couple of weeks. Each of their 13 games scheduled before the All-Star break will be played against teams (Mets, D-backs and Cubs) that are currently at least eight games below .500.
Those of you who have watched this club closely, can choose whether this is good or bad thing. The Braves are 24-21 (.533 win percentage) against teams currently below .500 and 20-17 against teams that currently have a winning record.
The Braves will play seven of these 13 games against the Mets, who have gone 9-10 since losing six straight earlier this month. With the Braves starting a pair of left-handed pitchers this week, the Mets are hoping David Wright (shoulder) returns to the lineup as early as tonight. Wright, who hasn’t played since Thursday, has batted .403 against left-handed pitchers this season.
On the opposite end of this spectrum is Jason Heyward, who has continued to create reason to wonder if he is still bothered by the effects of getting in the face with Mets left-hander Jon Niese’s fastball in August. Heyward was hitting just .212 (11-for-52) against left-handed pitchers through May 27. He has since gone hitless in 28 at-bats against southpaws.
Fortunately for Heyward, the Braves have not faced a left-handed starting pitcher in their past 13 games. And the Mets are not scheduled to send a left-handed starter to the mound this week.
Alex Wood gets the start for the Braves in tonight’s series opener. Wood has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of eight starts this year. He’s allowed one earned run or less and lasted at least seven innings in four of those outings.
B.J. Upton hasn’t proven anybody wrong as he he has hit .231 and produced a .259 on-base percentage in the six games he has played since moving to the leadoff role. But while recording at least one hit in each of those six games, he has at least given the superstitious Fredi Gonzalez reason to stick with the “If it’s not completely damaged, don’t fix it approach.”