Braves offense, bullpen lets them down

The Atlanta Braves went 0-8 on their just-completed trip, which the Elias Sports Bureau notes matched their worst record on a trip that long. They had previously gone 0-8 once before-- in 1949.

So what went wrong this time?

Almost everything.

The Braves hit .235 on the trip and scored more than three runs in a game only once.

The primary culprits on the offensive end were Evan Gattis (5-for-29), B.J. Upton (4-for-29) and Andrelton Simmons (2-for-18). Gattis and Upton combined to go 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position. The right-handed portion of the Braves lineup hit a combined .192

The Braves were bereft of any power, failing to homer in any of the last six games of the trip. It's their second homerless streak that lasted six games this season. From 2011 to 2013, they didn't have any such droughts.

Braves Bullpen – 2014 Season

Braves pitchers posted a 4.89 ERA and perhaps more alarming, a 1.76 WHIP in these eight games. Opposing hitters hit .313 with an .860 OPS and nine home runs.

Even Julio Teheran, who had been among the team's most consistent pitchers this season, struggled, giving up six runs in Wednesday's loss.

The Braves' bullpen was unusually bad, as noted in the chart, with David Hale losing a pair of games, and both Craig Kimbrel and Anthony Varvaro losing one each.

The one thing that went right for the Braves was on the defensive end. Their defenders combined for a major-league best 26 "Good Fielding Plays" in the first seven games of the trip, based on video review, (think of those as plays you would see nominated for Web Gems on "Baseball Tonight"). Their middle infield, anchored by Tommy La Stella and Simmons, combined for 11 of those.

But defense is not enough to win by itself.

Looking ahead

The Braves' next five series are against teams with winning records, with the next three at home against the division-leading Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.

The one thing the Braves have going for them is that they have owned the Nationals this season, winning seven of 10 games between the teams.

Gattis has thrived against Nationals pitching, hitting .345 in seven games this season. Washington also provides a great comfort zone for Freddie Freeman, who is 20-for-41 against Nationals pitching with three home runs and Justin Upton, who is hitting .400 with two home runs in nine games.