‘More fun’ and a few more wins for Braves

The Braves still are the worst team in the NL. They don’t pitch and hit well consistently. There’s also their 2-17 record at Turner Field.

But the Braves secured their first series win in five weeks with a 2-0 victory against the Phillies on Saturday. They are 4-5 on a trip that concludes on Sunday against the Phillies.

Those are modest accomplishments in the big picture. Still, they are positive developments for a team with losing streaks of nine and eight games this season and whose manager was fired earlier this week.

“It’s been a pretty decent road trip for us, especially swinging it,” Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. “We could have had a few more today but luckily our pitching picked us up and kept them to zero. I think there’s a little more fun going on and a little more cutting it loose. I think that’s starting to carry over into some at-bats and hard-hit balls.”

There have been signs that the Braves are trying to have more fun to shake the doldrums of a bad season.

Some players lately have been more aggressive during batting practice. That approach may or may not be contributing to a recent homer surge. But even Freddie Freeman, who is skeptical that it does, said that letting loose in BP could allow Braves hitters to relax a bit more during live at-bats.

There also was catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s exuberant reaction when he caught a foul pop-up to end Friday’s victory over the Phillies. After making the catch, Pierzynski turned toward the Braves’ dugout and pumped his fists while jumping in the air.

That was in response to Pierzynski’s teammates “wearing me out” for his two dropped pop-ups at Boston earlier this season.

“You’ve got to try to keep this game fun,” Pierzynski said. “The game humbles you so much in your career. When you get the opportunity to have some fun, smile and make the other guys on the team happy—that’s kind of what it’s all about. The rest of it is a grind.”

The Braves improved to 3-2 since interim manager Brian Snitker replaced Fredi Gonzalez. The victory Saturday secured their first series win since they swept a three-game series at the Marlins April 15-17.

“It means a whole lot (considering) what these guys have been through,” Snitker said. “All I’ve heard is these guys never quit, they keep getting after it. Things weren’t going their way but they keep fighting every day. They’ve done nothing but that since I’ve been here and it’s good to see them get rewarded for everything that they are putting into it.”