The Atlanta Braves' offense is sputtering, and former Florida Marlin Dan Uggla is in the middle of the slump.
In his first game against his former team, Uggla hopes to get his season on track when the Braves open a three-game series versus a Florida club hoping to have Hanley Ramirez back in its lineup Tuesday night.
Excluding an 11-run outburst in its third game, Atlanta (4-6) is averaging 2.3 runs and has scored two or fewer six times. The Braves managed five hits in Sunday's 3-0 loss to Philadelphia, their fifth defeat in six games.
"Obviously, you want to score some runs and win some ballgames, but it's still early," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez is in his first season with Atlanta after being fired by the Marlins in June. He was hired just days after Bobby Cox retired and was reunited with Uggla in November when Atlanta acquired the two-time All-Star from Florida (5-4).
Uggla had career highs of 33 homers and 105 RBIs last season, and became the first second baseman in major league history to hit 30 home runs four times.
Uggla is known for his slow starts - he is a career .243 hitter in April - and he's batting .158 with a pair of solo homers. He was 0 for 11 in his first series at Turner Field over the weekend.
Ramirez, Uggla's former double-play partner, is also in a bit of a slump, but there's reason to believe he can get things turned around in this series.
Ramirez hasn't played since leaving Friday's 4-3 win at Houston with a left leg contusion. The three-time All-Star shortstop was trying to turn a double play when Bill Hall slid into his leg at second.
Prior to Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Astros, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said he was "very optimistic" that Ramirez will start this series opener.
Ramirez, batting .207 with three doubles and two RBIs, hit .407 with four home runs and drove in 11 in 16 games against Atlanta in 2010. He was 3 for 8 with a solo homer and double against scheduled starter Tommy Hanson (0-2, 6.00 ERA).
After having his season debut cut short by a 55-minute rain delay April 2, Hanson allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings in a 4-2 loss at Milwaukee on Thursday.
The right-hander hasn't been particularly overpowering, striking out three in nine innings. He had an average of 7.68 strikeouts per nine innings a year ago to rank 17th in the NL.
Hanson went 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts against the Marlins last season. He has allowed two runs or fewer four of the last five times he has faced them.
Florida counters with Chris Volstad (0-0, 1.80), who gave up four runs - one earned - with four hits and four walks over five innings in Wednesday's 7-4 win over Washington.
The right-hander was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts against Atlanta last season.
"We're pretty familiar with the Braves," Volstad told the Marlins' official website. "They have some good left-handed hitters, a good lineup, too. A guy they got, Uggla, we're familiar with."
The Braves went 11-7 against the Marlins last season, winning seven of nine at Turner Field.
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