We somehow managed to get through the first installment of this series without even mentioning the Braves’ big offseason acquisitions and namesakes of this very series, Justin and B.J. Upton. The brothers did not wait to let their presence on the team be made known, however. Atlanta’s second series of the season was against the Cubs, and the report after game two started out like this:
Just five games into their first season with the Braves and already the Upton brothers are making history.
B.J. Upton tied the Cubs with a lead-off home run in the ninth and then little brother Justin won it 6-5 with a walk-off home run to center. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Uptons are the first brothers in major-league history to hit game-tying and walk-off home runs in the same inning.
According to David Vincent of SABR, it’s the 25th time in major-league history that brothers homered in the same game and the first time since Cal and Billy Ripken did it for the Orioles in 1996. It’s the sixth time brothers have homered in the same inning but none of the others did it as dramatically as the Uptons.
The Uptons did it with their parents watching from the stands. Justin Upton, who also homered in the first inning and started the rally in the eighth with a double, said the ninth inning topped anything in his career so far.
That wasn’t the only history they made in the opening frames, either:
When Justin Upton hit five home runs in the Braves’ first five games this season, he became the first player in major league history to do that in his first five games with a new team. He also set a franchise record for most homers in the first five games.
It seems safe to say that things are working out for the Braves so far, and their 6-1 record gives them an early one-game lead in the division. They certainly are forcing other teams to adjust to their offensive firepower:
That record will face an early test, though, because after opening with two home series, the Braves are on the road for the rest of April with a long road trip that will end with an interleague series in Detroit (more on that later).
Gerald Laird, my holdover Barve, has seen action in three games this season and is hitting .400 to no one’s surprise. In my efforts to branch out and learn more about the Atlanta roster, I discovered bespectacled first baseman Freddy Freeman, who apparently and alliteratively is “fuming” about being placed on the 15-day DL for a muscle strain.
Still, I’m happy there’s a guy named Freddy Freeman on this team if for no other reason than allowing me to link to this from time to time. Expect it.
Upton Abbey: Episode 1 – Beginning, as we must, with Chipper – 4/1