MIAMI -- While B.J. Upton has flourished over the past two weeks, his younger brother has continued to find life on the road to be much more frustrating than it has been at home, where he has performed like a legit National League MVP Award candidate.
Justin Upton has batted .400 with 10 home runs and a 1.273 OPS in the 100 at-bats he has compiled at Turner Field this year. He ranks second among all Major Leaguers in each of these three home categories. But he has batted just .194 with three home runs and a .604 OPS in the 93 at-bats he has collected on the road.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to give the younger Upton a chance to rest as the Braves concluded a five-game road trip on Sunday against the Marlins.
B.J. Upton entered Sunday's series finale having hit .255 with a .357 OPS in the 13 games he has played since opting to limit his pre-swing bat waggle. He has struck out just once every seven plate appearances during this span. He had registered a 2.8 plate appearances/strikeout ratio in his previous 39 games.
Carpenter chalks up rough stretch to 'dumb luck'
MIAMI -- After struggling through this season's first two weeks, David Carpenter started pitching much like he had during last year's breakout season. But this past week has been one of the most frustrating the right-handed reliever has experienced since joining the Braves.
Carpenter has allowed seven hits and four runs while retiring just two of the past 10 batters he has faced dating back to Thursday. Because he had pitched each of the three previous days, the Braves entered Sunday's series finale against the Marlins knowing he was likely unavailable.
"I think it's just some dumb luck," Carpenter said. "Trying to make some of the pitches I've made, some of the balls have flared in, and it's just one of those fluke things right now. I'm just trying to stay positive about it, get through it and get back to where things were. I'm not going to overthink it. I'm just going to go out there and perform and let the results be what they're going to be."
Everything seemed to be fine when Carpenter struck out two of the three hitters he faced in Monday's loss to the Red Sox. But he ran into some misfortune that led to Thursday's loss in Boston, and he simply proved ineffective while nearly blowing an eighth-inning lead in Saturday's win over the Marlins.
When Carpenter lost Thursday's two-run, eighth-inning lead, he surrendered four consecutive singles, two of which were flubbed in the outfield and another that might have resulted in a double play had second baseman Tommy La Stella not shown some youth indecision in his second big league game.
"It's not like they're all rockets all over the place," Carpenter said. "You can make little adjustments here and there. But when they're all rockets, it starts battering your confidence. I'm just looking at it as one of those hills you've got to climb up right now and stay positive."
Carpenter had more reason to be concerned after allowing three legitimate hits and issuing a walk while facing just four batters in Saturday's eighth inning. He was fortunate that Shae Simmons stranded the two runners he had inherited by beginning his career with an inning-ending strikeout of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
"I go in and look at things to see if there is anything mechanically [wrong] or whether I'm tipping a pitch or something like that," Carpenter said. "I don't see it. I'd say 90 percent of the time, the pitch is where I want it to be. ... Trying to keep your composure while you're out there, that's the name of the game. You can't get too high or too low. This is just one of those little low spots we have to deal with."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.