He had two hits including a two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning Friday to give the Braves a 3-1 lead, a lead that didn’t last long. He was asked afterward about having the fourth-most multi-hit games (40) in the National League and how good it must make him feel to be producing so consistently in his first season after major surgery.
“Personally, yes,” said Markakis, who was batting .298 with a .368 OBP before Saturday. “Team-wise, we’d like to be better. I’m just trying to go up there, have good at-bats, try to be aggressive, and when they make a mistake over the plate, try not to miss it. That’s the name of the game, especially at this level. You may only get one pitch (to hit) all game, and you’ve got to make the most of it.”
He has only two homers and a .376 slugging percentage for a modest .744 OPS – better than the last of his nine seasons with Baltimore, but 45 points below his career OPS. The Braves and Markakis are confident, however, that he’ll increase the slugging percentage and home runs after a normal offseason, since he didn’t get to lift weights or work out at all last winter until spring training began. He averaged 15.6 homers with Baltimore and had at least 10 every season.
Markakis’ .324 road batting average before Saturday was the third-best in the National League, but it hasn’t been enough to help the Braves avoid piling up a majors-leading 45 road losses.
They took a seven-game road losing streak into Saturday’s game, including 0-5 to start a seven-game trip that ends Sunday at Wrigley Field. They were swept Aug. 11-12 at Tampa Bay, swept in three games at San Diego to start the current trip, and lost the first two games of the four-game Cubs series before Saturday.
“It’s tough,” Markakis said. “It’s a tough road trip going to the West Coast and coming back here. But it is what it is, we’ve just got to keep battling, don’t take anything for granted, have good at-bats, play defense and try to score as many runs as we can for these pitchers. We’ve been coming up short, but can’t say we haven’t been trying.”