Markakis’s home-run total dropped to three in his first season with the Braves in 2015, likely a direct result of having December 2014 neck surgery and not being permitted to do any of his usual rigorous offseason weight training and conditioning drills that winter. Markakis had 13 homers in his second season with the Braves in 2016, and by midseason he was back to being the type of hitter he’d been throughout his career with the Orioles.
In his 11 months before Saturday, a stretch of 132 games played by Markakis, he had a .285 average, .353 OBP and .783 OPS in 505 at-bats, with 32 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs and 72 RBIs.
“I like to ride on a flat line instead of up and down,” Markakis said. “Through the course of a season, don’t get wrong, you’re going to have your ups and downs. But the thing is, just be consistent. Stay on the field and contribute any way you can to help your team win. That’s basically what I stand by.”
It had been a tough week for the Braves, who before Saturday had lost four of their past five games since a four-game winning streak. For a guy who prides himself on consistency, Markakis is playing for a team that’s been one of baseball’s streakiest in the early part of the season.
“We’ve just got to keep plugging away,” he said. “We need to get on the same page at times – sometimes when we don’t pitch, we hit, and sometimes when we pitch — I don’t know, we’re kind of backwards a little bit. That’s how baseball is sometimes. You’ve just got to get on the same page. When everything’s clicking it’s good for everybody. When it’s not, it’s tough for anybody.”