Braves catcher looks to regain form in second half
Its been somewhat a forgettable first half for Braves catcher Brian McCann.
An All-Star each of his six years in the show, McCann has been a consistent offensive force for the Braves throughout his career.
But this year Mac hasn't been the player Braves Country has been use to.
Without the nagging eye problem, he was slowed throughout the first half by a knee injury, as well as the flu, keeping him off the field and keeping his bat cold.
In April, McCann hit a dismal .229 (16-for-70), as it was apparent his September struggles had carried over into a new season.
Things got slightly better for McCann in May, but not by much. The lefty hit .263 (20-for-76) while driving in 19 runs, compared to the 9 he drove in during April.
If the first two months were bad, June might have been one of the worst months of his career.
In a month where he normally solidified his position as an All-Star, many saw him struggle with his swing, hitting .193 (17-for-88).
But hope remained, as over his career, McCann has been one of the most consistent bats in the National League, and arguably the best offensive catcher in the senior circuit.
And those with hope were rewarded after the Fourth of July fireworks.
In four straight games, McCann went deep, homering in the final game against the Cubs before belting a grand slam in the opener in Philadelphia as the Braves went on to sweep the rival Phillies with McCann notching home runs in each of the three games.
So far in July, McCann is hitting .364 (8-for-22), and while the All-Star break could not have come at a worse time for him, the confidence he regained in his swing can only prove dividends when the Mets visit Turner Field to begin the second half.
Last year, I posted a blog titled "Where have you gone, Brian McCann" after the oblique injury sidelined the starting catcher before he admitted to coming back earlier than he should have.
When the national media was looking for a scapegoat to point fingers at after the September collapse, McCann put the blame on his shoulders, admitting that he was trying to do to much in the absence of other consistent bats in the lineup.
In September 2011, McCann hit an even .200, going 17-for-85 while hitting just two home runs.
But the second half of 2012 can not come soon enough for him.
He will be looking to get back to the offensive juggernaut he has been considered over his career, especially after the help his brother Brad provided recently to change Brian's approach.
And while many pitching coaches in the NL East know McCann is not having an ordinary year (.238 average through the first half), they are aware how quickly he can heat up.