Dan Uggla Getting Hot at the Best Time for Atlanta Braves

Chris StephensCorrespondent IISeptember 28, 2012

Dan Uggla is getting hot at the right time of the season.
Dan Uggla is getting hot at the right time of the season.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Dan Uggla is getting hot at the end of the season, and the Atlanta Braves are on a winning streak.


The Braves have won 15 of their last 20, thanks in large part to Uggla.

Having struggled throughout the season, Uggla has picked it up in the last 20 games. He's batting .275 with two home runs, 13 RBI and an on-base percentage of .370 since Sept. 5.

Some will point to other Braves, like Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward, or the pitching staff for the recent success. However, Uggla's play shouldn't go unnoticed.

This year, Uggla struggled through much of the season. While the Braves haven't struggled like they did late last year, there were still bumps in the road in late August. It was during that time when Uggla saw himself on the bench for four games.

Since being reinserted into the lineup on Sept. 5, Uggla has raised his average from .206 to .217.

Uggla had a 33-game hitting streak last year, causing many to think he was getting out of his hitting woes. During the hitting streak, he helped the Braves to a 19-14 record. Over the next 10 games, Uggla got hits in seven, and the Braves went 8-2.

Then, the bottom fell out for Uggla and the Braves, and they had one of the biggest collapses in MLB history.

From Sept. 1 until the end of the season, Uggla went back to his mediocre hitting ways and the Braves went 9-18. During those 27 games, Uggla hit .238, striking out 31 times.

It's no coincidence that when Uggla struggles, so do the Braves. When he's hitting like he's capable of, the Braves succeed.

While fans will take a hot-hitting Uggla at any point in the season, having him on a hot streak around playoff time is imperative.

Uggla's success as of late gives the Braves the advantage in a one-game playoff and beyond. Whenever a player of Uggla's caliber is hitting No. 7, then you know there are a lot of good hitters ahead of him.

The success of the Braves doesn't depend on Uggla, but it certainly helps. It's too much to say the Braves will succeed only if Uggla is successful at the plate. But the numbers clearly show that when he does have success, so do the Braves.

While it's great to depend on the pitching staff to do their thing and other hitters, Uggla is the X-factor for the playoffs. If he can continue his hot streak, the Braves are going to be unstoppable.