The Atlanta Braves struck out a total of 18 times against the Detroit Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park, and 17 of those were in the first eight innings by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez. It's become very apparent that for this Braves club to produce consistently, they have to find a way to avoid the strikeout and put the ball in play.
Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman both struck out four times. Juan Francisco fanned three times. Even Reed Johnson whiffed twice.
Uggla's response after the game is probably the most troubling, particularly for a guy who's hitting .174.
"A loss is a loss," Uggla said on braves.com. "A strikeout is a strikeout. Outs are outs. You've got to get out somehow. We're definitely going to put up more runs. If people want to worry about strikeouts, they can worry about strikeouts. We're not worried about strikeouts. We can strike out 18 times and hit two three-run bombs and win a game."
And that's the problem with this team's mentality. Yes, they have all the capability in the world to hit homers all day, but Justin Upton has 11 homers this year and just 16 RBIs because no one's getting on base in front of him.
The Braves lead the National League with 203 strikeouts through the first 22 games. Even more telling is their batting average on balls in play, which is a ridiculous .340.
The answer? Just hit the ball. These guys have so much power potential that they just have to make contact for it to go a long way. But with two strikes, focus on making the pitcher and defense work for it.
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