Braves continue to struggle against right-handed pitching

Ozzie Albies

The Atlanta Braves offense is a unit that plays a certain brand of baseball. As a matter of fact, there are two certainties when it comes to the Braves lineup. You will see a ton of home runs, and you will also see many strikeouts. This team swings big, and they rely on the long ball most nights. However, their success with this approach cannot be denied. They have consistently ranked near the top in almost every offensive statistic over the years. But what also cannot be questioned with this current group is their struggles against right-handed pitching.

This is now a legitimate issue. On Saturday, the Braves were shutout for eight innings against Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies. Wheeler’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball for a while now; so, it’s fair to chalk that performance up to his greatness. But Paul Blackburn and the rest of Oakland’s pitching staff are not, and yet Atlanta’s offense still couldn’t get going on Monday, scoring just one run over the first seven innings against two right-handed pitchers.

The Braves are 24th as a team in terms of batting average against RHP, with a .233 clip. The team is also just 17th in WRC+ against right-handers, at 96. For reference, against lefties, the Braves are second in both categories. What’s even more odd is that last season, Atlanta was seventh in WRC+ against righties, so this is a new problem the team is facing.

While this weekend was not a promising sign that things are turning around against righties, the Braves have done slightly better in the past few games. They hit two home runs off of Tony Gonsolin, despite not much else, and gave Aaron Nola major trouble. Part of the issue also may be the guys that are in the lineup.

Eddie Rosario is on the roster as a platoon to give right-handed pitchers fits, yet he has a WRC+ of 50 against them. Michael Harris II has been a shell of the player he was last season on his way to NL Rookie of the Year, and Ozzie Albies struggles as a left-handed batter have been well documented as well.

The team, as a whole, is going to be fine. But if the playoffs were to start tomorrow, they’ve done little to show that they could stand up to the likes of Corbin Burnes, Joe Musgrove, Zack Wheeler, and others. Hopefully, some of these issues can be fixed internally by guys busting out of slumps, but adding another left-handed bat that can crush right-handed pitching at the trade deadline could become one of Alex Anthopoulos’ top priorities.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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