Surging Diaz does it his own way

A hitter with 32 home runs in more than 1,100 career at-bats typically does not hit five homers in a span of 14 games. But Braves right fielder Matt Diaz is an atypical hitter in a lot of ways.

“It comes in bunches for me,” said Diaz, who had two homers and seven RBIs in the first two games of the series against the Mets that ended Thursday night. “I might not hit another home run the rest of the year, but it’s been a fun ride.”

After a slow start this season, Diaz has sizzled for nearly two months, batting .325 with 22 RBIs in 38 games in July and August before Thursday, including 25 Braves wins.

He has turned it up even more recently, hitting .366 with five homers, 13 RBIs and a .756 slugging percentage in his past 14 games, including 10 Braves wins.

All the while, the 31-year-old has done it his unique way. Diaz might look completely overmatched on a cringe-inducing swing at a pitch two feet out of the strike zone, then smash the next pitch to the outfield bleachers.

“Matty’s going to hit,” Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said. “It may look ugly at times, but he’s going to get it done. He’s proven that.”

Yes, he has. Diaz took a .307 career average into Thursday’s game, including .298 this season, with nine homers and a .367 on-base percentage in 242 at-bats before Thursday.

Pendleton said he has come to expect such extended surges from Diaz.

“Doesn’t surprise you at all,” he said. “I wouldn’t know how to pitch to him because I don’t know how to get him out. You may throw him three strikes, and he doesn’t touch one. Then you throw one down on his ankles, and he hits it out.”

That means Diaz doesn’t really have patterns such as typical hitters display.

“None whatsoever,” Pendleton said. “At least to us watching, there isn’t.”