Peterson forcing at the plate ‘a little bit,’ Simmons in nasty slump

After putting up winning offensive numbers to start the season, Andrelton Simmons and Jace Peterson have fallen into nasty, month-long slumps.

Simmons was hitting .267 with a .700 OPS when he woke up June 18. He had three home runs, 27 RBIs and 39 runs scored. Manager Fredi Gonzalez recently said the first two months this season were the best he’d seen his shortstop have at the plate.

But since that morning, Simmons is hitting .214 with a .521 OPS, no home runs, three RBIs and five runs.

An even greater fallout for Peterson, who was hitting .279 on June 18 and is hitting .183 since then. He also has 28 strikeouts, one home run, nine RBIs and seven runs in that span.

Peterson was asked before the game Monday if he found himself forcing at the plate amid the slump.

“Maybe a little bit, to a certain extent,” he said. “But at the end of the day you’ve got to continue put in the work, continue to believe in yourself and continue to swing it. So, we’ll find out.”

Good news could be on the way for these guys. Both hit doubles Sunday night against the Cubs. Peterson smacked one off the right-field wall in the eighth and Simmons sliced a double down the right-field line in the ninth.

“I felt good my last couple at-bats,” Simmons said Monday. “Hopefully I can keep that same feel today at the plate and help my team by getting on base or getting the big hit. … You’ve got to take any success you had the day before and try to build off of that.”

Potentially more good news for the two: Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, who dole out batting slumps for sport, aren’t scheduled to start for Los Angeles this series.

“We’re kind of lucky we’re not facing pretty much two aces right there,” Simmons said. “But, still, you can’t take for granted the opposition’s pitcher. They’re major league baseball pitchers.”

It isn’t happenstance that Peterson and Simmons — or all Atlanta bats, for that matter — have scraped rock bottom since June 18. That’s the day Freddie Freeman went on the disabled list. The Braves have scored 69 runs in the 26 games he’s missed with a wrist injury; they’re 11-15.

“We don’t think about it but when (Freeman) is in the lineup, it’s a different animal,” Simmons said. “I mean, the fact is he’s not in there. So, we’ve got to fight. We’ve got to grind. We’ve got to get runs however we can produce them.”

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