Braves can work on home problem with Brewers in town

Something’s gotta give when the Braves host the Brewers tonight with Julio Teheran on the mound for the home nine.

Wait, actually something doesn’t have to give. The Braves could continue to not get the key hit or home run run at home and Teheran could get the same kind of bad luck and poor offensive support he’s had in most starts since the beginning of September.

Freddie Freeman has four homers at Turner Field this season, and no other current Brave has hit even one at the home ballpark in 2016. (AP photo)

Freddie Freeman has four homers at Turner Field this season, and no other current Brave has hit even one at the home ballpark in 2016. (AP photo)

But for the sake of everyone’s sanity and to throw Braves Country a bone coming off an encouraging road trip and after an off day, we’ll start the new homestand – the first homestand with Brian Snitker as manager – on a positive tone.

Besides, they’re playing the Brewers, the first really bad team the Braves have faced at home all season. Think about that: We just passed the one-quarter mark of the season and the Braves haven’t played a bad team at home. Not a real bad team. (The closest until now was Arizona, and the Diamondbacks’ 21-25 record includes a 14-8 road mark, tied for third-most road wins in the NL.).

Now come the Brewers, whose 18-26 overall record includes 6-14 on the road after being swept by the Mets in a three-game series that ended Monday. The Brew Crew has a 5.23 ERA in 20 road games, compared a 4.52 ERA (and 12-12 record) at home.

OK, now is the part where we have to ask you to look away and skip this next paragraph if you’re squeamish, because it details the Braves’ home performance to date.

The Braves, in their final season at Turner Field, have played as if they can’t leave soon enough. They are a majors-worst 2-17 at home, including 1-12 in their past 13 games. Let that marinate for a moment in your minds, because rarely if ever will you see such a home record again.

The odd thing is that the Braves’ basic home statistics — 4.58 ERA with six homers and 58 runs scored (3.1 per game) – aren’t radically different than their statistics on the road,  where they’ve posted a 4.44 ERA with 12 homers and 79 runs scored (3.3 per game). Only significant difference is the homer total, and most of that was a result of last week’s binge.

And yet, the Braves are 2-17 at home and 10-14 on the road, including 10-10 in their past 20 road games.

That’s crazy, right? I mean, think about it: The Braves are 10-10 in their past 20 road games, but 1-12 in their past 13 home games and 2-17 at home all season.

Here’s one key stat to consider. For whatever reason – bad luck, small sample size, whatever – the Braves just haven’t been able to get key hits (and obviously not of the long-ball variety) in close games at home, and early on they got some awful defense and bullpen work in close games, setting the tone for the early season in the view of many (including me).

Here’s another stat to consider: The Braves are 0-9 in home games decided by one or two runs, including 0-7 in the past 13 games (the 1-12 stretch).

That’s a whole lot of close losses where the large home crowds – ha, just checking to see if you’re reading closely – haven’t been able to pull the Braves through.

It’s rather startling that the Brave have hit just six homers in 19 home games, and two of those came on opening day. Here’s more that’s a bit absurd for this point of the season: Freddie Freeman is the only player on the current roster who’s even hit one this season at Turner Field. Seriously.

He’s got four homers at the home park, while the other two Braves homers this season at Turner Field were hit by Drew Stubbs, who’s now with the Rangers, and Adonis Garcia, who’s in Triple-A.

No Brave has more than eight RBIs at home this season, and Freeman (.444), Gordon Beckham (.438) and Jeff Francoeur (.405) are the only ones slugging above .400 at home.

 • The good news: There are reasons to believe the Braves turned a corner on the road trip, or at least began to turn a corner.

  After totaling nine home runs in their first 36 games, the Braves had nine in their next five games through Friday, including six in the four-game series at Pittsburgh and a season-high three in Friday’s series opener at Philadelphia. They did not hit a homer while totaling two runs and 12 hits over the last two games at rainy (and later just rain-soaked) Philly, a 2-0 win and a 5-0 loss.

The Braves are 8-14 in their past 22 games with a 3.96 ERA, .242 BA, 68 runs and 14 homers.

The Brewers are 7-11 in their past 18 games with a 3.86 ERA, .240 BA, 68 runs and 20 homers.

So that’s a pretty even matchup, based on recent work by the two teams.

The Brewers had a day off in Atlanta on Monday after being swept by the Mets in a three-game series at New York. The Brewers beat the recently slumping Cubs 2-1 in a home series before starting this trip.

   The Braves are 10-4 against the Brewers since the beginning of the 2014 season, including 4-1 in the past five games.

 

 • The better news: Teheran’s on the mound tonight, which means there’s a good chance for a Braves win if they can just push across a few runs.

Teheran has a microscopic 0.80 ERA, .185 opponents’ average in his past five starts, though just a 1-2 record in that span due to poor run support (2.1 runs per nine innings pitched). He has 30 strikeouts with nine walks in 33 2/3 innings in those five starts and hasn’t allowed a homer in his past four starts.

• Jace Peterson trying to master utility role, work way back to big leagues

• We’ll close with one from the bard, the great Bob Dylan, who turned 75 today. Happy birthday, Mr. Zimmerman.

“MOST OF THE TIME” by Bob Dylanbobdylan3

Most of the time
I’m clear focused all around
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground
I can follow the path, I can read the signs
Stay right with it when the road unwinds
I can handle whatever I stumble upon
I don’t even notice she’s gone
Most of the time

Most of the time
It’s well understood
Most of the time
I wouldn’t change it if I could
I can make it all match up, I can hold my own
I can deal with the situation right down to the bone
I can survive, I can endure
And I don’t even think about her
Most of the time

Most of the time
My head is on straight
Most of the time
I’m strong enough not to hate
I don’t build up illusion ’til it makes me sick
I ain’t afraid of confusion no matter how thick
I can smile in the face of mankind
Don’t even remember what her lips felt like on mine
Most of the time

Most of the time
She ain’t even in my mind
I wouldn’t know her if I saw her
She’s that far behind
Most of the time
I can’t even be sure
If she was ever with me
Or if I was with her

Most of the time
I’m halfway content
Most of the time
I know exactly where it went
I don’t cheat on myself, I don’t run and hide
Hide from the feelings that are buried inside
I don’t compromise and I don’t pretend
I don’t even care if I ever see her again
Most of the time


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