Braves improving at home, had nowhere to go but up

 

The Braves are a majors-worst 11-30 at home and have won multiple home games in a row just twice – a three-game streak June 15-16 and June 23 vs. the Reds and Mets, and two games May 27-28 vs. the Marlins. That’s all.

Freddie Freeman has nine of the Braves' 21 home runs at Turner Field this season. (AP photo)

Freddie Freeman has nine of the Braves’ 21 home runs at Turner Field this season. (AP photo)

What’s worth noting about those two home winning “streaks,” if you will, is that both came in the past month, coinciding with the overall strides the Braves have made and also reflecting again on just home incomprehensibly bad they were at home for the first seven weeks of the season. In case you’ve forgotten the specifics, they were 2-20 at home, folks. Two and twenty!

They’ve won nine of 19 at home since then, despite a 4.47 ERA in that stretch that is a bit bloated due to games like Monday’s 8-3 loss in a series opener against the surging Indians. It was the fifth time in the past 11 home games that Braves pitchers allowed at least eight earned runs, and the eighth time in 17 home games that they allowed six or more earned runs.

By the way, even with the near-.500 record at home over the past month, the Braves still have a good ways to go to match their relative success on the road, where they are 15-20 and have three-game series sweeps against the Marlins and Mets. They also have a series win at Philly that included consecutive wins May 20-21, and a five-game road winning streak that began June 8 at San Diego and continued June 17-21 through the first five games of a trip to New York and Miami.

No great shakes, but on the road they’ve actually been pretty decent most of the season. Again, relatively speaking.

The Braves’ top two starters, Julio Teheran and Matt Wisler, have fared significantly better on the road than at home. Teheran is 0-4 despite a strong 2.80 ERA in nine home starts, and 3-3 with a superb 2.10 ERA in seven road starts.

Wisler is 1-5 with a 4.46 ERA in nine home starts entering his Tuesday night start against the Indians. He’s 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA and a save in six road games (five starts).

Among Braves batters, the biggest home/road disparity favoring road games belongs to Chase d’Arnaud, who’s hit .319 (22-for-69) with seven extra-base hits, a .405 OBP and .435 slugging percentage in 19 road games, but just .220 (13-for-59) with three extra-base hits, a .281 OBP and .271 slugging percentage in 21 home games.

Nick Markakis has hit .262 with a .355 OBP, .377 slugging percentage and 24 RBIs in 34 road games, compared to .248/.318/.327 with 17 RBIs in 40 home games. Both of his homers have come on the road.

This is Dave Parker from his Pirates heyday. I only use the photo because it's great, and to illustrate what the Braves don't have much of outside of Freeman: power.

This is Dave Parker from his Pirates heyday. I only use the photo because it’s great, and to illustrate what the rebuilding Braves don’t have much to speak of outside of Freeman: power.

The one Brave with a dramatic home/road split going against the general team trend is Jeff Francoeur, who has raked at Turner Field at a .342 clip (27-for-97) with a .357 OBP and .430 slugging percentage in 32 home games, compared to .193/.239/.337 in 29 road games.

Also, Freddie Freeman has comparable stats at home and on the road, with a higher average on the road (.293) than at home (.280), but with nine of his team-high 13 homers coming at Turner Field.

Freeman has nearly half of the team’s 21 total Turner Field homers, with Adonis Garcia (five), Tyler Flowers (three) and Gordon Beckham (two) the only other Braves who’ve hit multiple homers at home despite there being just one week until the halfway point of the season.

After hitting only nine homers in their first 27 home games, the Braves have 12 homers in their past 14 home games and are tied with the Giants for fewest homers at home (21) in the major leagues, though the Giants have played two fewer home runs. The Braves and Giants  have six fewer than the Phillies (27), while all other major league teams have at least 32 home runs at home and 22 teams have 40 or more, led by the Orioles with a ridiculous 68 homers in 44 home games.

Tuesday’s pitching matchup: It’s another challenging one for the Braves as Matt Wisler (3-7, 4.22 ERA) faces Indians righty Corey Kluber (7-7, 3.59).

Wisler is 1-2 with a 7.59 ERA and .337 opponents’ average in four June starts, although he’s had quality starts in his past two. After going 0-2 with a 14.63 ERA, .400 OA and six homers allowed in eight innings over his first two June starts, he’s 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA, .288 OA and one homer allowed in 13 1/3 innings over his past two starts, lasting 6 2/3 innings in each of those home games against the Reds and Mets.

Kluber is 3-1 with a  2.17 ERA and .155 opponents’ average in four June starts, with 30 strikeouts, six walks and one homer allowed in 29 innings. He gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings of a June 15 loss at Kansas City and has allowed just eight hits and two runs in 20 innings in his other three June starts combined.

Four active Braves, all former American Leaguers, have at least nine official at-bats against Kluber: Erick Aybar 4-for-9, A.J. Pierzynski 4-for-15 with a homer, Nick Markakis 2-for-10, and Tyler Flowers 1-for-16 with seven strikeouts.

• As his solo show Monday night at City Winery in Atlanta, Jay Farrar sang a bunch of songs off his band Son Volt’s Trace album, including this great one.

“WINDFALL” by Son Volt

Son Volt

Son Volt

Now and then it keeps you running
It never seems to die
The trial’s spent with fear
Not enough living on the outside

Never seem to get far enough
Staying in between the lines
Hold on what you can
Waiting for the end not knowing when

May the wind take your troubles away
May the wind take your troubles away
Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel
May the wind take your troubles away

Trying to make it far enough
To the next time zone
Few and far between past the midnight hour
Never feel alone, you’re really not alone
Switching it over to A.M.
Searching for a truer sound
Can’t recall the call letters
Steel guitar and settle down

Catching an all night station
Somewhere in Louisiana
It sounds like 1963
But for now it sounds like heaven

May the wind take your troubles away
May the wind take your troubles away
Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel
May the wind take your troubles away
May the wind take your troubles away
May the wind take your troubles away

 

 

 


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