Few stories are more infamous for the Atlanta Braves than the flopping of B.J. Upton one year ago after signing a record contract as a free agent. Most everyone around the game expected his arrival to trigger a period where the Braves would have the most productive offensive outfield in the game or at least one of the most productive. Since that didn’t come close to happening, many wonder if it ever will. Last night’s game versus Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants must be a good sign however.
Sure there have been other games where Upton showed signs of coming out of it and never did but this time must be different. First of all we cannot assume that Upton will stink his entire time playing for the Braves just because that is what Dan Uggla has done. The odds are actually in the Braves favor in this thing. That is good news right? It must be good that Upton went two for three against Lincecum with a double and a home run.
Of course he did strikeout looking at the end of the game but he would have had to be swinging a telephone pole to hit two of those pitches they were so far outside. And anyway, striking out looking to end a game is something his brother Justin Upton has done plenty of times this season and we still expect him to be productive. The home run last night ties him with Jason Heyward this year with three and he has eight RBI with a .211 average.
Last season it took him all the way to the end of May to get those type of numbers and he was batting in the .140 range the entire time. This season he has hit over .200 for both months so far. Last year he struck out 63 times in the first two months and this year he only has 45 so far. Well okay that is still a lot but if he turns things the rest of the way around now with this game where no one else could touch Lincecum but he stayed on the ball and hit it hard and true, the Braves could greatly benefit from his being on base.
They would have last night if the review team in New York hadn’t been eating chicken or something at the time they were supposed to be reviewing his clear steal of third base. It seems he is having a better season this year and that he will play better over the next few weeks. We shall see if that is true or just wishful thinking.