In recent games the Atlanta Braves have shown flashes of the dominant offense that led them to double digit consecutive wins early in the season. They have not reclaimed that position however and the loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night proves it. The Braves managed only four hits as teams continue to pitch around Justin Upton whenever possible and hit into three destructive double-plays to guarantee the dominance of DBacks starter Patrick Corbin instead of their offense.
To be completely honest, no one is going to score a ton of runs on Corbin right now. The guy is in the zone at 6 – 0 with a 1.52 ERA. What great offensive teams like the Braves can be would do against a dominant pitcher like that is not squander the few chances they get. The Braves did that last night and it cost Julio Teheran a tough luck loss in one of his best performances of the season. The DBacks only brought home two runs on one base hit early in the game. Teheran battled out of every other scoring chance they had.
The box score through the fourth inning tells the story of what the problem was last night and what it is when the Braves don’t score runs. Two times through the order Justin Upton was 0 – 0 with two walks. Obviously they pitched around him. The guy behind him is Freddie Freeman who is usually very capable. Last night when Upton had only a couple of walks Freeman had already stranded 4 runners on base.
That is the kind of thing that can’t happen if the Braves are going to regain their offensive power. I think they will get it back since they are actually playing a little better over the past 10 days or so. What will be huge is watching what happens when Jason Heyward comes back. It is possible that his presence alone, along with a healthy Brian McCann and possibly an improving B.J. Upton will provide the final push to put the Braves where they need to be offensively. To be sure, they are not there right now.