I will start this article on a positive note, even though I probably won’t end on one. Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla has hit over .300 for the last seven days and people should be excited. You’re excitement may not last too long though, because Uggla has hurt this Braves team in another way. It is with his glove.
It is not a surprise to me that we are discussing issues with Uggla’s glove. What is a shock to me though, is that I will also be mentioning B.J. Upton in the same context.
When you take a look at the numbers, Uggla has a fielding percentage of .965, good for 20th among 2nd basemen in the league. This creates an even bigger problem for manager Fredi Gonzalez, if Uggla doesn’t stay on this hitting streak that he is on.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that bad trips to the plate, and errors in the field, are not a good thing. A combination of those two is a death sentence for most big leaguers. Money and optimism has kept Upton and Uggla in the lineup to this point, because it is certainly not the numbers they are putting up. How long does that last?
One of the first things that I was taught as a youngster about the game of baseball is that the middle of the diamond has to be strong defensively. Meaning your best defensive players should be in center field, shortstop, second base, and at catcher. That’s not the case for the Atlanta Braves. I don’t know if this could cost the Braves a World Series ring, only time will tell us that. But I will certainly be paying close attention to this issue.
The Braves are a really good team and we all know that. They have a ton of power and the pitching is good enough to win close to 100 games. Winning 100 games is not important to most Atlanta fans, winning the World Series and returning to dominance is what Braves fans crave the most.
The little things are the difference between being good and being great. That is the way the Braves will be examined from here on out. It may seem like writers are just never happy, but that’s not it at all. It is about wanting to see this team be at the top of Major League Baseball again. It’s me wanting to see “the chop” throughout Turner Field in the Fall Classic, and most importantly, to hear Jim Powell say “The Atlanta Braves are your 2013 World Series Champions.” That is why we chop!
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