Braves Are Heating Up With Freeman, Phillips, Kemp

On Monday night the Atlanta Braves began a 7game homestand with renewed optimism and some smoking hot hitters.

The Braves began play this week with five starting players who were batting .310 or better. Brian Snitker’s team seems to have found itself. The Braves are starting to hit with runners on base.

Atlanta is displaying some power. The Braves are stealing bases. They are coming up with some two-out hits with runners on the base pads. Some frigid batting averages are starting to thaw out for Atlanta.

Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia has discovered his hitting stroke. His batting average is climbing. Garcia had two doubles, two homers and 20 hits on the year as the Braves began a 4-game series at home against the Mets on Monday.

Atlanta center fielder Ender Inciarte is also getting on base more often, too. Inciarte is making better contact at the plate. He is beginning to hit some line drives again. Inciarte’s batting average is on the way up.

He had 11 RBI’s, four home runs and 23 hits at the beginning of this week. All of this is a good sign for the Braves, who entered the Mets series having won four out of their last five games.

And during that 5-game stretch, Atlanta scored 39 runs on the road against the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers. Atlanta did lose to the Brewers, 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. But the Braves are showing some promise and some wins.

Atlanta was still six games behind the division-leading Nationals on Monday, but the Braves are starting to score more and win more. The Braves have even watched the light-hitting Dansby Swanson attain some better swings.

Swanson, the 23-year-old Atlanta shortstop, had two hits against the Brewers last Saturday night. Swanson now has 14 hits on the season with two home runs and seven runs scored.

As of today there are still 137 games remaining for the Braves. They could still make a charge in the National League East. The season is just two months old, and the Braves have some of the hottest hitters in the National League.

Atlanta is ready to compete at a much higher level, so it appears. Braves catcher Tyler Flowers is batting .391 with 18 hits, two doubles and nine RBI’s. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is hitting at a .381 clip with six doubles, nine home runs, one triple and 14 RBI’s (as of Monday).

Freeman has 32 hits on the year. Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips is knocking the ball around the yard, too, with a batting average of .355. Phillips has 27 hits, five doubles, two homers and 10 RBI’s.

Phillips is a part of the process for the Braves. He is making a difference for Atlanta. Matt Kemp, the Braves left fielder, is getting his hacks in, too. Kemp is one of the Braves leaders, along with Freeman. Kemp looks like he was born to be a Brave.

Kemp is punishing the ball with a .321 batting average. Kemp has 16 RBI’s, six home runs, five doubles and 18 base hits.

Braves right fielder Nick Markakis has also joined the “hit parade” with a .310 batting average. Markakis is hitting them where they aren’t. He has 27 hits, 10 RBI’s and six doubles.

Markakis is also running the bases on a dead sprint. He has scored 14 runs this season. The Braves are indeed a team to watch out for.

Chris Fernsler Sports Writer