Who is hot heading into this big week

Bill Shanks takes a look at a few Braves' players who are red hot entering this important week.

The Braves head to New York with the big series against the Mets four and a half games out of first place with a 59-53 record. They are 12-11 since the All-Star Break.

Atlanta had that horrible stretch from June 19-24 when it scored only one run. Since then, in 36 games (21-15), the Braves have scored 230 runs (6.4 runs per game). Since the All-Star Break the Braves have averaged 6.3 runs per game. And in their last seven games the Braves have averaged nine runs per game.

Before his injury Thursday, shortstop Edgar Renteria had been red-hot since the All-Star Break, hitting .398. Renteria is tied for fourth in the National League with his .336 batting average.

His replacement at shortstop, Yunel Escobar, has hit .382 since the All-Star Break with a .433 on base percentage.

Chipper Jones is hitting .366 (64-175) since returning from the disabled list in mid-June. He's got six home runs and 31 RBI in that stretch.

Matt Diaz continues his hot hitting. Diaz has been on fire since May 1st: .373, 5 home runs, 27 RBI, 69 hits in 185 at bats, 9 walks, 27 strikeouts, and a .406 on base percentage. He's hitting .444 (8-18) in August and now has his overall average up to .347.

Brian McCann has turned things around since July 1st, hitting .284 (27-95) with 5 home runs and 23 RBI.

The two hottest hitters have been Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson. Francoeur has hit .362 (34-94) since the All-Star Break with 2 home runs and 14 RBI, 10 walks, 16 strikeouts, and a .421 on base percentage. Since July 1st Francoeur has hit .339 (43-127), 4 home runs, 20 RBI, 11 walks, 23 strikeouts, and a .390 on base percentage. And taking it back to start on June 1st, Francoeur has hit .315 with 5 home runs, 34 RBI, 74 hits in 235 at bats, 16 walks, 45 strikeouts, and a .355 on base percentage.

Johnson has hit better away from the leadoff spot in the batting order. While he did bat first, Johnson hit .284 (74 hits in 261 at bats) with 8 home runs and 37 at bats, with a .386 on base percentage. Since he was moved out of the leadoff role, Johnson has hit .359 with 4 home runs, 20 RBI, 37 hits in 103 at bats, 11 walks, 23 strikeouts, and a .426 on base percentage. In 32 games since June 29th Johnson has hit .384 with 4 home runs, 20 RBI, 38 hits in 99 at bats, 14 walks, 20 strikeouts, and a .465 on base percentage. Johnson has hit .361 (26-72) since the All-Star Break with 3 home runs, 15 RBI, 10 walks, and a .446 on base percentage.

There is no pitcher hotter right now than Braves' starter Tim Hudson, who all of a sudden resembles that pitcher that donned the Oakland A's uniform for so many years. In Hudson's last eight starts he is 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA, 48 hits allowed in 53.2 innings, 12 runs, 12 earned runs, 10 walks, and 40 strikeouts.

Bob Wickman has been pretty solid since the All-Star Break. The Braves' closer has saved two and blown only one save. He's allowed only one run in 9.1 innings (0.96 ERA), five hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts.




Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.



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