B.J. Upton has been swinging a much better bat in the month of June for the Atlanta Braves, which continued on Wednesday night with a 2-for-3 performance along with a walk in the Braves’ 5-3 win over the New York Mets.
More importantly, one of Upton’s hits ended a 0-for-28 streak of hitting with runners in scoring position and two outs—a MLB worst in that category.
Upton came to the plate in the fifth inning with runners on first and second and two outs, with the Braves leading 4-3. He laced a Shaun Marcum pitch into right-center for an RBI double to extend the Braves lead to 5-3 and chased Marcum from the game.
As a team, the Braves have struggled this year in that situation. Finding any consistency on offense will be tough if the Braves don’t improve in that category, and it starts with individuals not named Freddie Freeman making improvements.
Upton will almost undoubtedly improve in these situations if he continues swinging the bat as he has in June. For the month, Upton has posted a .369 on-base percentage and .897 OPS (team-leading four home runs), while hitting .255 to help raise his average to .173 on the season. While that may not seem like much, that .173 average is amazingly the highest it has been the entire season.
The 28-year-old has not gone on a jaw-dropping tear to date, but he has made slow and sure progress over the past few weeks. He made another key stride on Wednesday with the clutch double. And for the Braves the rest of this season, that’s what will matter most. It’s not how many hits he records, but when he gets those hits.