Have the Atlanta Braves Figured Out How to Hit Lefties?
The Atlanta Braves are one of the hottest teams in the MLB over the past 11 games. They have won 9 out of 11 games and have put together an impressive hitting streak. They are third in the MLB in runs scored behind the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. They scored 9 or more runs four games in a row this week, which they had not accomplished since 2007. This is the same offensive team that numerous scouts doubted in Spring Training and felt would undermine the team throughout the year. However, something has clicked with the bats of the Atlanta Braves. Evidence of this success can be seen most of all against left-handed pitchers.
The reason for their offensive turnaround has to be with new hitting coach, Greg Walker. The Braves’ starting lineup is essentially the same, with the exception of Tyler Pastornicky. Each hitter is having good at bats. They are not swinging at bad pitches. They are taking what the pitchers are giving them and making them pay for mistakes.
Through the first 16 games of the season, the Braves have compiled a .282/.345/.455/.799 line. They lead the MLB in runs against left-handed pitching. The second best team in the NL in runs scored is the Los Angeles Dodgers: the Braves lead them by 19 runs.
Last season, the Braves scored 175 runs against lefties. They have scored more than 25% of that total already. Their overall stat line last season was this: .228/.290/.352/.642. The Braves led the MLB in runs scored against lefties in 2007. For the most part, they have struggled against left-handed pitching over the past 4 seasons.
If the Braves can continue to hit at a level close to what they are against left-handed pitching, they could win their division for the first time since 2005.
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