Uggla’s persistence paying off for Braves
Published 9:07 pm Monday, August 8, 2011
Atlanta’s Dan Uggla is proof that baseball is a marathon not a sprint.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Braves’ second baseman was batting an abysmal .185 and his average had dipped as low as .173 in July.
Then began the streak.
Uggla began to dink and dunk weak singles like a flooded engine trying to fire and in a blink he has cranked out base hits in 28 consecutive games and counting.
The Braves acquired Uggla prior to the 2011 season to help jump start an average offence to support a dominate pitching staff. That just hasn’t happened. Atlanta as a team is batting .244, good enough to rank 12th in the National League. But, over the course of 162 games things can turn on a dime and it appears they are turning for Uggla. While with the Florida Marlins, Uggla was a two-time All-Star for a reason belting 154 home runs in his five seasons in Miami. The 31-year-old has never batted over .287 and has never been known as a Gold Glove caliber defensive player but did win the Marlins “Heart and Hustle” Award twice and is currently on pace to hit 35 homers for the Braves which is much needed production to help keep Atlanta ahead in the Wild Card standings.
In the 22 games since the break, Uggla has batted .352 with nine homers and 21 RBIs to raise his season average to .220 proving that persistence pays off in baseball.
Atlanta is currently 66-49 and leading the Wild Card race. Uggla’s second half jolt could very well help lock up a playoff spot for Atlanta and with their pitching staff would be very tough to beat in the best-of-five first round National League Divisional Series.