The Braves are among the National League leaders in dubious category of hitting into double plays.
Photo: Scott Cunningham
Photo: Scott Cunningham

Braves getting too familiar with the double play

The Braves find themselves contemplating the yin and yang of the double play a little too much these days.

They hit into three of them Saturday against the Marlins, pushing their season total to 104. That left them tied with Milwaukee for the fifth most in the National League entering Sunday’s game.

On one hand, of course, the double play is a deflating inning-killer.

But on the other, at least you have to be getting runners on base before they can be erased.

“I remember one year when we led the league in double plays turned, defensively, back with the Marlins,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “And people were like, that’s pretty good. Well, no it isn’t. That means people were getting on base against us.”

A more recent discussion of the twin killing, back when Gonzalez’s current team was retooling in 2013, involved the manager and a sabermetrician friend of his.

“When we assembled this team, everybody was talking about all the strikeouts. And he said, ‘Think about it this way, you won’t hit into double plays.’”

“This year,” Gonzalez said, “we’re striking out and hitting into double plays.”

Yes, hard to find anything redeeming about the current two-for-one tendency.

As more of a fly-ball hitting team, the double play ball should not be a dominant part of the Braves personality, Gonzalez noted. “A couple have been line-drives, too. We had two line-drive double plays in New York, where we had no chance.”

A lack of team speed, though, could be a contributing factor.

But, in the final analysis, you are left with this: “It’s just one of those trends you go through,” Gonzalez said.

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