Dansby out of early-season slump, looks for home improvement

Now that he’s emerged from an early-season funk the likes of which Dansby Swanson had never previously experienced, the rookie shortstop in particular, and the Braves in general, will try to get things going at SunTrust Park like they’ve done lately on the road.

“Whenever you can come back home with some positive momentum like we have, it’s definitely a good feeling,” Swanson said before Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays at SunTrust Park, the first of a nine-game homestand for a team that played 23 of its first 36 games on the road. “I think everybody’s excited in here.”

Swanson has been hitting lately like most expected he would in his second season, batting .286 (14-for-49) with a .403 on-base percentage, .429 slugging percentage and .832 OPS in his past 15 games before Wednesday, with two homers, nine RBIs and 11 walks. This after a dismal first four weeks in which he hit only .138 (11-for-80) with a .169 OBP, .188 slugging percentage and .356 OPS in his first 20 games, with two extra-base hits, three RBIs and three walks,

“I’m finally starting to get some more consistent at-bats,” said Swanson, who has listened to advice from hot-hitting Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp, among others. “Honestly, I think everyone has helped me — just being able to watch those guys every day and observe and see what they do is a big thing. Then you obviously draw confidence from guys like that, knowing they believe in you. You start to believe in yourself more and more.

“It’s nice to have those guys around and be able to pick their brains.”

But as encouraging as his past 15 games had been, it’s worth nothing that in his only five home games during that stretch Swanson was 2-for-16, albeit with five walks.

For the season, the Marietta native’s home/road statistical disparity entering the homestand was startling: Swanson hit .098 (4-for-41) with no extra-base hits, a .191 OBP and .098 slugging percentage (.289 OPS) in 12 home games before Wednesday, compared with .226 (19-for-84) with four extra-base hits, .298 OBP and .321 slugging (.619 OPS) in 22 road games.