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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Top stats to know: Red Sox at Braves

By John Fisher

The Boston Red Sox snapped a 10-game losing streak Monday, which was their longest since losing 11 straight in 1994.

Tonight, the defending champions hope to turn that into a win streak (7 ET/ESPN) as they play the second of two games at Turner Field before heading home to host the Atlanta Braves for two more.

Streak snapped
Despite putting that losing streak behind them, the damage to the Sox’s hopes of a championship repeat this season may be already done.

No team in MLB history has ever lost 10 straight games in a season and gone on to win the World Series. The longest losing streak by a team that would go on to win the World Series was nine by the 1953 New York Yankees.

The last team with a double-digit losing streak that even made the playoffs was the 1982 Atlanta Braves, who lost 11 straight in August that season.

Lack of big POPi
David Ortiz hit the game-tying home run Monday, but a lack of production from the slugger over the past dozen games has been a key factor in the Red Sox’s slump.

Over the last 12 games, Ortiz is hitting .286 with a slugging percentage of .429. Over that span he has had just one multihit game.

In the previous dozen games, he hit .360 with a slugging percentage of .680, with five multihit games.

Ortiz is struggling with pitches on the outer half of the plate, which continues a trend. His numbers against such pitches have decreased for three straight seasons.

Braves' hitters lack patience
As a team, the Braves have one of the worst offenses in baseball. They rarely hit the ball hard, and they hit in the air far more than they hit it on a line.

The Braves swing at the first pitch more often than almost every team in baseball (33 percent, a hair behind the Giants) but don’t make the most of that aggressiveness. They are hitting .305 on the first pitch this season, well below the MLB average of .340.

Despite only one team swinging at the first pitch more often, no team has fewer home runs on the first pitch of an AB (tied with Twins -- 2).

Aaron Harang
While the Braves’ offense has been poor this season, Harang has been a bright spot on the pitching staff, which ranks second in MLB with a 2.89 ERA. After five starts, he led the major leagues with a 0.85 ERA. In his past five starts, he’s gone 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.

If you take out the first of those past five starts (9 ERs) he has a 3.86 ERA. He has 31 K's and 5 BBs over that span (33 K's, 13 BBs in his first five starts) and he’s allowed two ERs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts this season.