The Atlanta Braves don’t want two things. They don’t want to have another collapse in September like they did in 2011 (which is unlikely), and they don’t want their season to end in the 163rd game of the year. For the Braves to avoid one or the other of those fates, they need Michael Bourn to get going at the plate.
Bourn had been the catalyst that sparked the Braves offensive for most of the year. It seemed like he was almost always standing at first or second base, waiting for one of the thumpers in the Atlanta lineup to send him across home plate.
That was until August 19. The day that Bourn ran smack into a steel reinforced brick wall.
Since that day, Bourn has hit a paltry .211, with only 16 hits, no home runs, five RBI, and a mere five runs scored. When Michael Bourn can only cross the plate five times over the course of 21 games, the Braves are going to have a difficult time offensively.
During this 21-game span, Bourn’s average has dipped from .292 to .279, and his on-base percentage fell from .354 down to .349. Those differences may not sound like much, but it’s difficult to cause that much variance in your averages this late in the season.
If Atlanta Braves fans didn’t realize how important Michael Bourn is to this offense, they probably do now. While Bourn has been mired in this hitting slump, the Braves have scored 3 runs or less in 13 of the 21 games, and have been shutout four times.
Right now there are 20 games remaining before the all important one-game playoff that the Braves are likely to host. Atlanta wants to be on a roll during these last couple of weeks of the regular season. Getting back Andrelton Simmons, and having Brian McCann and Dan Uggla to start throwing some lumber around will definitely help. But the Braves need Michael Bourn. They need him to be on base, to steal bases, and to score runs when the rest of the lineup gets a hit.
Without the Michael Bourn locomotive pulling them, the Atlanta Braves train may run out of steam.