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B.J. Upton has a team-leading 49 strikeouts through 40 games.
Even the most cursory evaluation of the Braves roster prior to the season would quickly uncover the fact that there are quite a few free swingers on the club.
Through 40 games this season, that has certainly proven to be the case. Atlanta has struck out a National League-leading 372 times while tying the Colorado Rockies for the league lead with 52 home runs.
Call those totals "feast or famine" if you like, but the strikeouts have become a cause for concern for the Braves.
It has less to do with the overall quantity, and more to do with the situations in which these punch-outs are occurring with such great frequency.
Averaging 9.3 strikeouts per game, Atlanta has fanned 10 or more times in 17 contests this season. That has not necessarily doomed the club to a loss, however. Atlanta is 7-10 in those 10-K games.
Fredi Gonzalez has gone on record as saying he is much more concerned with the club's situational hitting than worrying about the overall strikeout total.
On the heels of a late April three-game series in Detroit in which the Braves struck out 39 times, Gonzalez opened up to members of the media, myself included, prior to the April 29 showdown against the Washington Nationals.
There are certain times during the course of the game that [strikeouts] are not OK. Those are the ones that put a dagger in your gut. For instance, man on third with no outs or man on third and one out and they're giving you a run by playing the infield back. Those are the strikeouts that when you keep doing that, you keep missing scoring opportunities, and they're going to come back and haunt you.
With that said, taking a look at Atlanta's situational statistics confirms the kind of unproductive outs Gonzalez was concerned with.
How many of these strikeouts are taking place when the Braves have run scoring opportunities?
Through 40 games this season, the Braves have struck out 79 times in 255 at-bats with runners in scoring position. That is the highest strikeout total by any NL club with RISP.
As a result, Atlanta's 107 runs produced is the fourth fewest amount of runs scored by any NL team with RISP. In case you are wondering, league average is 120.
It gets worse with two outs and RISP. The Braves rank 14th in the NL with a .174 average and are tied for 12th with 37 runs scored, while lead the league with 47 strikeouts.
Suffice it to say, that is not the kind of situational hitting that will lend itself to winning over the course of a 162-game season.
A recent piece by MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince expounds on why the strikeout has become an increasingly accepted part of this era in baseball. It is an amazing piece that includes numerous facts and figures on the ever-inflating strikeout totals in the game.