Tuesday night, the most Atlanta Braves thing happened.
Former Brave Dan Uggla, still on Atlanta’s payroll, bashed a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to cap a massive rally for the Washington Nationals over the Braves. They were down 10-2 to the Braves; they won 13-12.
And the Braves paid Uggla $78,000 to do it.
But that wasn’t the only wild anomaly we saw from a player that struggled for nearly his entire stint in Atlanta. Uggla has hit two triples in the first two games of this series. According to Mark Bradley of AJC.com, he had just four triples in 1,701 at-bats as a Brave.
Tuesday night, Uggla knocked in five runs and had his first three-hit game since 2012, also according to Bradley.
And not one bit of this surprised me.
Aside from the negativity that surrounds Atlanta sports fans, there was something else at play here. Think back to the days of Uggla in a Marlins uniform.
Remember how he used to beat up the Braves?
I certainly do, and I’m not surprised to see it continue. Consider this: Uggla is a career .242 hitter – not bad for a guy who generally hits for power. Following Tuesday night’s game, he upped his batting average against the Braves to a healthy .293. Against all MLB teams in which he’s had at least 100 at-bats, he has the highest batting average against Atlanta.
But here’s where he really shows off his claim to fame as the ultimate “Braves killer.” His .577 slugging percentage against Atlanta is far above his career .451 slugging percentage, showing that he hits for power against the Braves better than against any other team.
For comparison’s sake, Uggla never batted higher than .233 as a member of the Braves, and never slugged higher than .453.
If you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s that Uggla probably won’t be in the big leagues much longer. He’s the most likely player on the Nats’ squad to be sent to the minors to make space for the next teammate to come off the disabled list, but with his stats against the Braves, don’t be surprised to see him appear in a few more series against Atlanta.
It’s just funny how Uggla is a Braves fan’s worst nightmare – whether he’s wearing the home team’s uniform or someone else’s.
Image: AP/John Bazemore