3 Braves who improved their performance in June

The Braves were 13-15 in June. That’s the first time they’ve had a losing record in the month since 2016, but at least they ended it on a high note with a 20-2 victory over the Mets on Wednesday night.

Overall, it was a difficult stretch for the team, which will try to battle its way back into the playoff picture. But several individuals had promising production in June, with three seemingly putting their seasons on the right track after slow starts.

1. Second baseman Ozzie Albies

Albies was somewhat quietly assembling another strong season before he exploded Wednesday night. Albies had five hits, including two homers, and seven RBIs in the Braves’ blowout win. In June, Albies hit .321/.367/.607 with six homers, 10 doubles, two triples and 29 RBIs.

Entering the month, Albies was hitting only .231. He’s bumped his average to .265. His 29 RBIs are two more than his season total before June. He also stole eight of his 11 bases in the month.

“Same plan, same attitude, same thinking when I’m doing my workout and routine,” Albies said when asked if he made any adjustments earlier in the month. “I haven’t changed anything.”

2. First baseman Freddie Freeman

Freeman desperately needed a decent month. He produced one in June, hitting .286/.356/.467 with five homers and 14 RBIs before finishing the month with a three-hit showing Wednesday. He also had an RBI and scored four runs.

In 27 games, Freeman raised his average from .235 to .261. It’s nowhere close to where he wants to be, but the tide started turning in June. If Freeman continues trending upward, it certainly would help the Braves’ bid for a second-half surge.

3. Starting pitcher Charlie Morton

Morton’s season started slowly, with even his better outings being undone by one poor inning. The 37-year-old turned his campaign around in June, posting a 2.73 ERA in five starts.

Morton had a 20-2/3 innings scoreless streak that ended with his final pitch Tuesday, when Mets catcher James McCann smacked a three-run homer off the righty that spoiled an otherwise great start.

In his previous two starts, Morton allowed four hits and no runs over 14-2/3 innings. He made adjustments to his delivery, and that paid off. When Morton is at his best, as he was for most of June, it’s easy to see why the Braves gave him $15 million on a one-year deal.

HONORABLE MENTION

Left-hander Will Smith: Some will be surprised with Smith’s mention here, but June was his best month. He had a 2.84 ERA with 17 strikeouts against two walks in 12-2/3 innings. He hasn’t been perfect – Luke Williams’ walk-off homer in Philadelphia occurred in June – but Smith has been solid. Since Williams’ homer, he has logged eight consecutive scoreless appearances.

Starting pitcher Kyle Muller: Muller made his debut June 16, but it’s hard to argue any individual Brave has had a better month. Muller struggled in his first relief appearance but rebounded with two sensational starts. The 23-year-old southpaw has allowed one run on two hits in two starts (nine innings). Both hits were bloop knocks that could’ve also been ruled errors. Muller has added 12 strikeouts against four walks in that span. He’ll make his next start Saturday against the Marlins.