Stats & Info: Dan Uggla

Against all odds: HR for Uggla, W for Avilan

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
11:54
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The reports of Dan Uggla’s baseball departure were perhaps a tad premature.

One of the kookiest games of the 2014 season had a goofy conclusion, with Uggla hitting a grand slam in the ninth inning against fill-in closer Jake Diekman to give the Atlanta Braves a 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Dan Uggla
Uggla
This is the same Uggla whom ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield was suggesting the Braves cut earlier in the afternoon, one who closed the 2013 season by going 13-for-his-last-120 and then opened 2014 with a slight upgrade to 8-for-41, giving him a .130 batting average over a 52-game stretch.

But Uggla has done this sort of thing against the Phillies before. Phillies fans remember well another go-ahead grand slam he hit -- this one a walk-off shot against Tom Gordon on June 11, 2008.

The odds were a little longer for this one against Diekmann. Uggla was 1-for-his-past-45 against left-handed pitching entering that at-bat.

The home run increased the Braves chances of winning by 51 percent (per historical data available at Fangraphs.com), making it the second-most-valuable home run of the season, trailing only Alexei Ramirez's walk-off home run on Sunday (a 71 percent increase).

What else made this such a weird game?

The one thing stranger than Uggla’s homer was the line for winning pitcher Luis Avilan, who allowed five earned runs in one inning, an eighth inning in which the Phillies got a clutch three-run home run from Domonic Brown (who hadn’t hit a homer against a lefty since Aug. 7, 2013).

Avilan was awarded the win. He became the first pitcher to be credited with a win despite allowing at least five earned runs while pitching an inning or fewer since Jack Knott of the 1934 St. Louis Browns against the Philadelphia Athletics.

Knott got the win because the official scorer didn’t have a choice -- Knott allowed five runs to the Athletics in the top of the ninth and was the last man on the mound when the inning ended. The Browns scored six in their half of the ninth to win.

Why Uggla was left off Braves roster

October, 2, 2013
10/02/13
6:06
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Since the turn of the twentieth century, there had only been 32 full seasons in which a player qualified for the batting title and hit less than .190 (six of those seasons were by Bill Bergen in the early 1900s).

Dan Uggla made that 33.

Uggla's career-low .179 batting average is the worst by a player who qualified for the batting title since 1991, when Rob Deer hit .179 for the Detroit Tigers.

On a historical scale, Uggla is tied for the eighth-lowest single season average in the Major Leagues since 1901.

The Braves announced earlier today that Uggla would not make their NLDS roster.

How did it come to this?
Uggla had 18 games in which he struck out at least two times and failed to record a hit or a walk, tied for the eleventh-most such games this season.

He is the only player to record at least 18 such games this year and fail to record a three-hit contest.

Uggla vs. Johnson
Uggla may have struggled to reach base via a hit, but his positive WAR this season (0.5) is a testament to his ability to hit for power. He was one of only 52 hitters to hit at least 22 home runs this season and is one of only 12 players whose primary position was second base to drive in at least 55 runs. Only two other second basemen had as many home runs as Uggla-- Robinson Cano (27) and Jedd Gyorko (23).

The Braves other option at second base in the playoffs is Elliot Johnson, who has not fared much better this year: with a .209 batting average and .538 OPS.

But Johnson brings two skills that Uggla doesn't: He's stolen 22 bases in 24 attempts and he has contributed 10 Defensive Runs Saved in fewer than 500 innings at second base.

Uggla has -19 Defensive Runs Saved this season, worst among all players at second base.

Stats of the Day: Where these Braves fit historically?
There have only been nine teams to finish with a player that qualified for the batting title while hitting below .190 that had 80-win seasons. All but the Braves and 1991 Tigers are from the dead-ball era.

The Braves .593 winning percentage is tied for the second-best of any team that had such a player.

The Braves actually survived this season not just with Uggla on their roster, but B.J. Upton and his .184 batting average (in 446 plate appearances) as well.

They are one of only two teams in major-league history to carry two players who batted .190 or below in a season with at least 400 plate appearances. The only other was the 1917 Indians.

It's difficult to take Weaver deep at home

July, 20, 2012
7/20/12
12:31
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Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireThe Angels' Jered Weaver has allowed just three earned runs at home this season.
The top two teams in the three of the six divisions face off this weekend as pennant races begin to heat up.

Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
In the American League West, the Angels trail the Rangers by six games. It’s the Rangers largest lead since the end of June. The teams have split the first six matchups this season; however, the next two weeks could decide the race as seven of the Angels next 13 games are against Texas.

Jered Weaver starts on Friday, looking to continue his dominance at Angels Ballpark. He’s 6-0 with a 0.58 ERA at home this season, and has not allowed an earned run six of his seven home starts. Weaver’s home success is tied to his ability to keep the ball in the park and great outfield defense (see chart).

At home, the Angels defense has converted 93 percent of Weaver’s fly balls that stay in the park into outs. On the road, that percentage drops to 78.

Overall, the Angels have won each of Weaver’s last eight starts. There have been only two longer single-season streaks of wins in a pitchers’ starts in Angels history: 11 straight behind Chuck Finley in 1997, and 10 in a row with Rickey Clarke in 1967.

Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers
Chicago and Detroit kick off a series with the White Sox clinging to a one and-a-half game lead in the American League Central. Right now, however, the two teams are heading in opposite directions -- the Tigers have won 10 of their last 12 games, and the White Sox are 3-4 since the All-Star break.

Justin Verlander is 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his last seven starts, and has allowed one run over his last two starts. Although he owns a 4.13 career ERA against the White Sox, Verlander is 10-1 with a 2.33 ERA against Chicago since the start of 2009.

Opposing Verlander is Jake Peavy, who is coming off his worst start of the season (seven innings, 12 hits, six earned runs at Kansas City). Peavy’s ERA is 5.48 ERA in seven starts this season against divisional opponents. In his 11 other starts, Peavy has 1.78 ERA.

Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
The Nationals welcome the Braves, trying to extend their three and-a-half game lead in the National League East. The Braves have won eight of their last 10 games, but against the Nationals this season they are just 2-6.
Stephen Strasburg
Strasburg
The Braves have the luxury, if you can call it that, of facing Stephen Strasburg on Friday. Atlanta is the one team that Strasburg has not fared well against. He’s 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP against the Braves. Against everyone else, Strasburg is 14-5 with a 2.36 ERA and a WHIP just over one.

Dan Uggla is 7-for-13 with two home runs and eight RBI against Strasburg. Uggla’s batting average (.538), OBP (.600), slugging percentage (1.154) and OPS (1.754) are the highest against Strasburg of any player that has faced him more than three times.

US Presswire/ESPN Stats & InfoDuring his 16-game hit streak, Josh Hamilton was 25-for-59 with 10 home runs.
Baseball’s 16th season of interleague play is under way with celebrations of natural rivalries -- Cubs against White Sox, Orioles against Nationals, A’s against Giants among others -- and in one instance a chance for National League fans to get a load of Josh Hamilton.

The Texas Rangers will travel down I-45 and give Houston Astros fans a look at baseball’s hottest hitter.

Hamilton already has the second-highest career batting average in interleague games, but also comes into this series on a historic tear.

Hamilton’s 16-game hit streak came to an end on Thursday when his day off ended early against Oakland. He pinch-hit and ended up 0-for-2 in a loss to the Athletics, but Hamilton still leads the American League in home runs, RBIs and batting average.

Hamilton’s hitting streak included a week, from May 7-13, that might have been as impressive as any in history.

He hit .467 with nine home runs and 18 RBI and an OPS of 1.963. His week included the 16th four-home run game in baseball history, and his nine home runs for the week matched the combined total hit that week by last season’s nine leading home run hitters: Jose Bautista 3, Curtis Granderson 2, Giancarlo Stanton 2, Dan Uggla 1 and Prince Fielder 1.

Texas and Houston meet each season in home-and-home series in interleague play (competing for the Silver Boot trophy), so the Astros have experienced Hamilton’s bat. Over the past three seasons against Houston pitching, Hamilton is 26-for-65 (.400) with four home runs and 13 RBI.

With new deals, Kinsler outpaces Phillips

April, 10, 2012
4/10/12
5:27
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AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Despite signing similar contract extensions, Ian Kinsler has out produced Brandon Phillips in every season since 2007 by Wins Above Replacement.
Two of the premier second basemen in baseball have signed contract extensions over the last 24 hours. Late Monday, the Texas Rangers and Ian Kinsler agreed to a multiyear extension. Then, Tuesday afternoon, the long-rumored extension between the Cincinnati Reds and Brandon Phillips came to fruition.

Given that both play the same position, are of similar ages and signed deals of both similar value and similar length, a comparison seems natural.

Kinsler’s contract is a five-year, $75 million deal with a sixth-year option. Phillips’ is a six-year, $72.5 million deal. However, both teams functionally have their second basemen under control for at least six years, given that Kinsler’s extension does not kick in until 2013, whereas Phillips’ begins this season.

Even though the two players will be compensated in similar fashion over the next five or six seasons, the quality of their play leading up to the extensions has been of much different quality. While Kinsler may get overshadowed on a star-studded team and Phillips may garner attention for his Twitter and fielding antics, Kinsler is the far superior player.

Kinsler has out produced Phillips in every season since 2007 by WAR. In fact, Kinsler (23.2 WAR) outranks the likes of Robinson Cano (22.6 WAR) and Dan Uggla (13.4 WAR) in terms of production since 2007.

Very few second basemen retain this sort of high-level value deep into their 30’s. Kinsler will be locked up for both his age-34 and 35 seasons (as well as 36 if the option is picked up), while Phillips will be under contract in his age 34-to-36 seasons, also. The number of second basemen since 1900 who have contributed seasons of 3+ WAR at age-34 or older is exclusive and limited to some of the greatest players to play the position in MLB history.

Among second basemen, only Eddie Collins (1921-26), Jeff Kent (2002-07), Charlie Gehringer (1937-40), Lou Whitaker (1991-93) and Joe Morgan (1980-83) have at least three straight seasons of 3+ WAR since 1900. No one else has done it more than twice (Willie Randolph and Eddie Stanky have done it twice). A 3-WAR season already assumes some skill degradation for Kinsler and would actually constitute an improvement for Phillips over the last few seasons. Yet they will be paid as if 3+ WAR is almost assumed.

Oswalt, Phillies look to sweep Braves

September, 7, 2011
9/07/11
1:32
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The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies wrap up their three-game series tonight on "Wednesday Night Baseball" on ESPN. The Phillies are looking for their first sweep of the Braves since Sept. 20-22, 2010.

On Tuesday night, the Phillies won their 90th game of the season (the first team to reach that mark this season). Philadelphia has won 90-plus games in four consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

On the mound
Brandon Beachy takes the ball for the Braves. Beachy is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies. However, he’s pitched well in Citizens Bank Park, allowing only three earned runs in 10⅓ innings. (He’s allowed nine ER in 13⅔ innings at Turner Field against the Phillies.)

On the other side, Roy Oswalt is scheduled to throw for the Phillies. Oswalt is 33-9 in his career in September and October. His .786 winning percentage is the highest among active pitchers with at least 20 September/October decisions.

Oswalt is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in three career games against the Braves in September/October.

Matchup to watch
Dan Uggla started his career 0-for-13 against Oswalt but is 3-for-his-past-9 against the righty. (However, only one of those hits has come since 2010.)

Stat of the game
With a win Wednesday night, the Phillies would increase their lead over the Braves in the NL East to 10½ games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that would be their largest lead in the NL East since 1993, when their biggest cushion was 11½ games.

-- Mark Simon contributed to this post
(The Cincinnati Reds host the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.)

On almost any other team, a pitcher who has a 2.62 ERA, a WHIP under 1.0 and a wins above replacement (WAR) of 5.0 would be a staff ace.

If you're Cole Hamels, that makes you the No. 3 starter in the Philadelphia Phillies' rotation.

Cole Hamels
Hamels
But really, Hamels is one of three aces on a Phillies staff that’s trying to become the first team since the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers to finish with an ERA under 3.00. Currently, Philadelphia’s team ERA is 3.09.

There are areas where Hamels has been better than both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Hamels’ 0.99 WHIP is the lowest in the National League, and no pitcher has made more starts of seven innings allowing two earned runs or fewer than Hamels has in 2011 (see chart).

If you asked the Reds, chances are they would prefer to face Lee or Halladay. In eight career starts against Cincinnati, Hamels is 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA. (At Great American Ballpark, Hamels is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA.)

Monday will be Hamels’ first start since Aug. 12. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month with a left elbow strain.

Very few Reds players have had success against Hamels, but one player who has is catcher Ramon Hernandez (4-for-9, home run).

Reigning National League MVP Joey Votto has not fared well against Hamels, with just two hits in 16 at-bats. However, Votto is having a great August. He’s hitting .353 and has nine home runs -- only Dan Uggla has more homers (10) in the National League this month.

Votto’s hot August can be traced to his performance when he’s been ahead in the count. Votto is 11-for-21 (.524) with four home runs this month when ahead in the count.

If Hamels wants to get Votto out, he should stick to the changeup. Votto is hitting just .222 against changeups this month, and Hamels' opponents have been hitting just .138 against his changeup.
The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves open a four-game series in Atlanta at 7 ET on Monday Night Baseball on ESPN.

San Francisco makes its first trip to Atlanta since clinching the 2010 National League Division Series over the Braves, which began the Giants' march to the World Series title.

Chances are if this game is close late in the game, the winning team just might close out the game in its final at-bat. Among all National League teams, the Braves (20) and Giants (18) have the most wins in their last at-bats this season.

On the mound

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound for San Francisco, hoping this turn on the hill is much better than the last time he faced the Braves. On April 22, Bumgarner allowed four runs (three earned), four hits, two walks and two strikeouts in only 2⅔ innings of work in a 4-1 loss.

A major key to success for Bumgarner has been getting through the third inning without too much damage, something he didn’t do back in April (allowed all four Atlanta runs to score). In innings 1-3, Bumgarner has allowed 42 ER in 69.0 IP (5.48 ERA). But in innings 4-9, he has allowed just 15 ER in 76⅓ IP (1.77 ERA).

Tim Hudson will take the mound for Atlanta. In his past six starts against the Giants, Hudson is 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA, and in his past three starts against San Francisco, he’s allowed only four earned runs in 23⅔ innings.

Hudson thrives with David Ross behind the plate, winning nine of 10 decisions this season. Ross has served as Hudson’s personal catcher since June 15, well before Brian McCann was injured, and the numbers demonstrate exactly why that move was made.

Matchups

As a member of the Philadelphia Phillies from 2006 to 2007, Aaron Rowand hit .315 with a .368 on-base percentage and .454 slugging percentage in 29 games against Atlanta. However, since joining the Giants, Rowand is hitting only .250 with two HRs with a .316 OBP and .426 slugging percentage in 21 games against the Braves.

Dan Uggla went 0-for-3 in the Braves' 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, snapping his 33-game hitting streak. Uggla was struggling before the streak began, hitting only .173 (he raised his average to .232 before the streak ended). Since 1900, among single-season hit streaks of at least 30 games that did not begin the season, Uggla had the fourth-lowest BA.

Stat of the game

This stat comes courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau: Atlanta’s Chipper Jones has not walked in his past 53 plate appearances. That’s the longest such streak of his career; his previous high was 49 plate appearances without a walk in June 1995 (his rookie season).
CC Sabathia
Sabathia
Carlos Zambrano
Zambrano
A couple of pitchers combined to make baseball history Friday night and they will look to quickly forget that fact.

Carlos Zambrano and CC Sabathia each surrendered five home runs in losses for the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees, respectively.

According to Elias, the ONLY other time in MLB history that two pitchers gave up five home runs on the same day was Sept. 21, 1996. Oakland’s Dave Telgheder and Milwaukee’s Jeff D’Amico were the victims.

Elias also tells us that Sabathia is the sixth pitcher in Yankees history to allow five homers in a game.

And then there’s Zambrano. After giving up his fifth home run, he was ejected by home plate umpire Tim Timmons for throwing inside to Chipper Jones on consecutive pitches.

He then went into the locker room and told team officials that he was retiring -- and then left the ballpark.

Zambrano is the fourth Cub to allow five homers in a game since 1920, joining Ismael Valdez (2000), Steve Stone (1974) and Warren Hacker (1954).

Dan Uggla belted two of the homers off Zambrano to extend his hitting streak to 32 games. Uggla's first home run was his 25th of the season. Only four other players in MLB history have had a 32-plus-game hitting streak and 25-or-more home runs in the same season: Rogers Hornsby in 1922, Joe DiMaggio in 1941, Tommy Holmes in 1945 and Chase Utley in 2006.

Elsewhere around the majors:

• Pablo Sandoval hit a solo homer for the Giants’ only run in their 2-1 loss to Florida. It was their 20th straight home run without anybody on base. Elias says that is the longest such streak in the divisional era (since 1969). With Arizona’s 4-3 win over the Mets, the Giants dropped two games behind the Diamondbacks.
Ervin Santana
Santana

• Ervin Santana pitched a complete game in the Angels’ 5-1 win in Toronto. Since July 1, Santana's ERA is 1.41, the second lowest in the majors over that time behind only teammate Jered Weaver (1.35). Also, Santana has 103 strikeouts on his slider this season, the second most in the majors behind Clayton Kershaw (104).

A tale of two seasons for Dan Uggla

August, 7, 2011
8/07/11
10:58
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Dan Ugla
Uggla
The first three months of Dan Uggla's Atlanta Braves career was an unmitigated disaster, particularly when one considers it was the first season of a brand new contract extension. However, over the last month and a half Uggla has looked very much like the impact hitter that the Braves thought they were acquiring this offseason.

With that said, what are the differences between the Uggla who didn't hit at all in the first three months of the season and the one currently on a 28-game hitting streak? Let's look at a couple of things:

1. He's hitting pitches on the outer-third of the plate and beyond much better now.

2. When he makes contact with a slider from a right-handed pitcher, he’s crushing it.

When Uggla was going bad, he couldn’t make contact with sliders from right-handed pitchers. He only was putting about one-third of his swings in play. Now, he’s putting half of his swings against sliders from righties into play and doing major damage. When making contact with a slider from a right-handed pitcher during the streak, he’s 11-for-22 with five home runs. And to tie back to the previous note, four of those have come on sliders on the outer-third.

3. His groundballs are finding holes in the infield defense.

When Uggla was struggling, roughly one of every five groundballs he put into play became a hit, which is close to the league average. During his hit streak, nearly half of his groundballs have found holes and added to his hit total. Some may say that he’s gotten really lucky during his streak with more grounders finding holes in the defense. But it’s also worth noting that he’s hitting those groundballs a lot harder, according to Inside Edge video review. Before the streak, he made hard contact on 12 percent of the groundballs he hit; during the streak that rate has doubled to 25 percent.

4. One last point for Uggla and we’ll use heat maps to illustrate it. If you look through July 4, Dan Uggla had no “hot zones” – literally. Now…he’s got plenty, as you’ll see below.




Left: Dan Uggla's hot and cold zones prior to hit streak.
Right: Uggla's hot and cold zones since streak started.

David Pinto of BaseballAnalytics.org takes a different look at Uggla’s turnaround.

The New York Yankees took the first game of their series with the Boston Red Sox Friday night at Fenway Park – and they also took over first place by themselves in the AL East for the first time since July 6.


The Yanks’ 3-2 win also snapped their seven-game losing streak against the Red Sox, while increasing their current overall winning streak to eight games.

The Yankees-Sox matchup has been a tale of two halves over the past three seasons. With Friday’s win, the Bronx Bombers are 14-7 against Boston after the All-Star break and 6-19 before the ASB.

The unsung hero for the Yankees in the win was their bullpen, which has not walked a batter since July 27 (nine straight walk-less games).

Starter Bartolo Colon was lifted after throwing 94 pitches and recording 14 outs. Here’s a next-level look at how Boone Logan and Mariano Rivera shut down the Red Sox (with help from Rafael Soriano and David Robertson):

• Logan got the win, as well as perhaps the biggest out of the game, a three-pitch strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the fifth. Gonzalez struck out on a slider out of the strike zone, a common location for Logan against Gonzalez. Logan has now faced Gonzalez four times in his career, allowing a hit with two strikeouts. Of the 13 pitches he has thrown Gonzalez, only six have been in the strike zone.

• Rivera closed the game out by registering two of his three outs recorded on strikeouts looking. It's the first time Rivera has gotten more than one strikeout looking in an appearance since April 18, 2010 - a span of 98 games.

Elsewhere around MLB Friday:

• Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a single in his last at-bat. It ties Emilio Bonifacio for the second-longest streak in the majors this season (Andre Ethier, 30).

• Ubaldo Jimenez made his Indians debut, allowing five runs over five innings. He did not get a decision in the Rangers' come-from-behind 8-7 win.

• Craig Counsell broke his streak of 45 straight hitless at-bats with a pinch-single in the Brewers’ 8-1 win over Houston. It tied the worst single-year hitless streak by a non-pitcher since 1900.

• The Padres drubbed the Pirates, 15-5, in Pittsburgh. It is the most runs the Padres have ever scored in Pittsburgh, eclipsing their 14 at Forbes Field on June 2, 1970.
Ubaldo Jimenez
Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez was traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians Saturday in exchange for three minor league prospects and a player to be named later.

The Indians trail the division-leading Tigers by 1.5 games and Jimenez could be the jolt their team -- and specifically their rotation -- needs down the stretch. The Indians' starters are in the bottom third of all MLB teams in winning percentage, ERA and innings pitched.

The trade is a change of pace for the Indians, who had been trading away notable players during the season since 2008. CC Sabathia (2008), Cliff Lee (2009), Victor Martinez (2009) and Jake Westbrook (2010) all left the Tribe in in-season deals.

After starting this season 0-5 with a 5.86 ERA, Jimenez has been much closer to his 2010 self in his last 12 starts. Since June 1, Jimenez is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.

Another positive sign for the Indians is that Jimenez’s numbers have been very good away from Coors Field. His record is 3-4 away from Colorado, but his ERA is 3.38 -- as opposed to 5.55 at Coors. In addition, he is holding hitters to a .183 average and striking out 9.8 batters per nine innings away from Coors.

However, some baseball people are wondering why the Rockies are trading a 27-year-old frontline starter who's under contract 2 ½ more years at a team-friendly price in the first place. Do they know something, health wise, that other teams don't? From 2009-10, no starter averaged more velocity on his fastball than Jimenez. This season, after losing nearly three MPH off his fastball, his velocity ranks just 16th among qualified starters.

In other news around baseball Saturday:

• Cliff Lee struck out 11 as the Phillies dropped the Pirates, 7-4. It is Lee’s seventh double-digit strikeout game this season, the most in the majors. Also, it is the most such games in a season by a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling recorded 15 in 1998.

• Atlanta’s Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 21 games. Elias tells us that Uggla's .173 mark at the start of his hitting streak is the lowest in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) for a player with a hitting streak of 20 or more games (minimum 200 at-bats at the start of the hitting streak).

• Robinson Cano joined some exclusive company Saturday, becoming the sixth Yankees hitter to go 5-for-5 or better with 5 or more RBI at home in the Live Ball Era (since 1920). Among those to accomplish the feat are Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.
With the All-Star break upon us, we take a look at some of the game’s best players who are having anything but their best years. We present to you, Major League Baseball’s “All-Struggling Team – Hitter’s Edition.”

Kurt Suzuki
Suzuki
C: Kurt Suzuki, Oakland Athletics (.225 BA, .284 OBP, 7 HR, 22 RBI)

A .264 career hitter who averages 10 HR and 60 RBI per season.

1B: Derrek Lee, Baltimore Orioles (.235 BA, .294 OBP, 9 HR, 28 RBI)

Still stellar in the field, but Lee is far off his career pace of .282, 22 HR, 73 RBI.

2B: Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves (.185 BA, .257 OBP, 15 HR, 34 RBI)

After career highs in average (.287), HR (33) and RBI (105) in 2010, Uggla has fallen hard.

SS: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (.242 BA, 8 HR, 37 RBI)

Ramirez has hit .310 with 4 HR and 20 RBI in 25 games since coming off the DL, so he might approach career averages of 21 HR, 65 RBI, .313.

3B: Chone Figgins, Seattle Mariners (.183 BA, .231 OBP, 6 CS)

His numbers continue to plummet in the two years since coming to Seattle. He had been a .291 career hitter (.363 OBP) who averages 35 steals a season.

OF: Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox (.213 BA, .262 OBP, 6 HR, 21 RBI)

He appears poised to have his lowest RBI total and batting average of his career this season.

OF: Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland Indians (.244 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI)

According to Fangraphs.com, Choo was worth 11 wins over a replacement-level player in 2009 and 2010. Battling injuries in 2011, Choo has a 1.5 WAR rating.

Jayson Werth
Werth
OF: Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals (.215 BA, 10 HR, 31 RBI)

What does seven years and $126 million buy you? Not as much as you’d expect.

DH: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox (.160 BA, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 104 K)

Dunn has been injured and ineffective. In fact, in the first year of a four-year, $56 million contract, he’s on pace to have the worst offensive season in the history of baseball.
The following is a preview of the Sunday Night Baseball (ESPN, 8 ET) meeting between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, with Jair Jurrjens scheduled to start against Cole Hamels.

The Phillies' rotation gets all the attention, but the Braves have a claim to the title of National League's best. Atlanta's rotation has the best ERA, the most innings pitched and the lowest opponents' batting average in the National League.

The Phillies' starters lead the NL in complete games and strikeouts, have the fewest walks and rank second to the Braves in ERA and innings pitched, and the Philadelphia pitching staff has a league-leading six shutouts.

And they've pitched better as this young season has progressed, cutting their ERA nearly in half and bumping their strikeouts per nine innings pitched up over nine in the past 16 games.

The reason the Braves sit in third place in the division, four-and-a-half games behind the first-place Phillies, is that they rank near the bottom of the league in hitting.

They've been timely when they do hit, however, ranking first in the league in batting average with runners in scoring position.

Hamels Matchups to Watch
Dan Uggla was 3-for-his-first-11 versus Hamels. He has since gone 3-for-his-last-29, including 1-for-his-last 9 against him. Uggla does not have a hit this season on an outside pitch by a left-handed pitcher and only one hit off a lefty's fastball.

Jurrjens Matchups to Watch
Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-his-last-16 against Jurrjens. Amazingly, he’s hitting just .154 against Jurrjens (4-for-26), but has never struck out against him.

Shane Victorino is 1-for-his-last 15 against Jurrjens.

The Phillies have won eight of their past 11 meetings with the Braves, and have won seven of their past nine games overall. The Braves, on the other hand, have won six of seven, the only loss coming Saturday night to the Phillies.

As far as statistical oddities go, these are two that are tough to explain; one is good news for the Braves, the other is not. The Phillies are 10-0 in day games this season, making them 12-10 at night. But they are 4-7 in series openers, meaning they are 18-3 in all other games.

The latter has held true against the Braves; the Phillies have dropped both series openers and have won the other three games.

-- Mark Simon and David Bearman contributed to this report
Today’s Trivia: It was 50 years ago today that Roger Maris hit the first of his 61 home runs in 1961. (He went homerless in his first 10 games of the season.) Maris would win his second straight American League MVP that year. Who is the only player to win back-to-back American League MVP awards since?

On Monday, we looked at American League hitters who were slumping. Here’s a look at the numbers behind some of the notable slumps in the National League:

Carlos Gonzalez
Gonzalez
• The Rockies Carlos Gonzalez is just 3-for-34 on at-bats ending in a fastball. At .088, that’s the lowest of any regular in the majors this season. Last season, he hit .379 with 14 home runs on at-bats ending in a fastball.

• The Los Angeles Dodgers James Loney (.170 BA) is swinging at 53.5 percent of pitches, way up from 42.2 percent last season. It’s most noticeable on the first pitch where he’s swinging at 39.4 percent compared to 21.9 percent in 2010.

• It’s the soft stuff getting to the Pittsburgh Pirates Pedro Alvarez (.216). He’s 2-for-17 on at-bats ending in a change-up and 2-for-14 on sliders.

• Marlins’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.194) actually is 5-for-14 with three doubles against left-handed pitching, but righties have been a different story. A career .313 hitter against right-handers, Ramirez is hitting .151 against them this season. Of his swings against right-handed pitching, 27.1 percent have been swings and misses, up from 19.9 percent last season.

• Dan Uggla has a .174 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which puts him ahead of only Angel Pagan among 99 National League qualifiers. (The league average is .297.) However, that’s not just a matter of luck. Only 10.8 percent of Uggla’s hits have been line drives, down from 22.5 percent in 2010.

• When you look at the National League players who hit the highest percentage of ground balls, speedsters Jose Tabata and Michael Bourn not surprisingly top the list. But sixth on that list is Raul Ibanez (.179) who is hitting 60.0 percent grounders, up from 44.6 percent in 2010.

• Given that he hit .196 in 2010, it’s hard to call Carlos Pena's .169 batting average a slump. However, the fact that he has only one extra-base hit (a double) would qualify as a power slump. All 28 of his home runs in 2010 came on pitches middle-away. This season, he’s hitting just .125 on those pitches.

Trivia Answer: Frank Thomas (1993-94) is the only player to win back-to-back American League MVP awards since Maris.

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