Braves’ offense has plummeted to bottom of MLB ranks

CHICAGO – The Braves’ offense has deteriorated so dramatically in the second half of the season that the team entered Wednesday ranked last in the majors in runs scored with 442. This after they were 22nd in runs scored before the All-Star break with 347, ahead of the Cubs (335) among others.

The Cubs had outscored the Braves 151-95 since the break, including a 7-1 win over the Braves in Thursday’s opener of a four-game series.

The Braves played much of the second half without Freddie Freeman, who returned Wednesday from a second stint on the disabled list. They also traded away two of their best hitters, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, on July 24 to the Mets.

Last season the Braves finished 29th in the majors in runs with 573. They were on pace to finish with 591 this season, but it should be noted that reflects their pace over the entire season. If they score like they have in the second half, the Braves will finish with fewer runs than last season.

Braves had a majors-low 74 homers before Friday, and the next-lowest total among 30 major league teams was the Marlins’ 89. There were 24 teams with least 100 homers and 10 teams have more than 125 before Friday.

Last season the Braves tied for 22nd in the majors in home runs with 123. Entering Friday, they were on pace to finish with 99 this season.

The Braves and Marlins were tied for the majors’ fewest homers since the All-Star break with 17 in 32 games before Friday, while seven teams had at least 40 homers since the break. The Orioles had 50.

Before Friday’s game against the Cubs, Freddie Freeman (14 homers) and Cameron Maybin (10) were the only Braves with more than seven homers this season, while the Cubs had eight players with more than seven homers including seven players with at least 10.

Anthony Rizzo hit his team-high 24th homer for the Cubs in Thursday’s win against the Braves, and rookie Kris Bryant had 17 homers.