It isn’t often that a franchise like the Atlanta Braves endures a losing streak that reaches six consecutive games, but when it happens, panic ensues. Following the sixth loss (and second series sweep), Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was vocal in his plan to shake up the batting lineup, and on Monday afternoon, he stayed true to his word.
Tonight’s lineup vs. STL (7:10, SS/ESPN/680AM/BRN): Heyward 9 JUpton 7 Freeman 3 Gattis 2 BUpton 8 Johnson 5 Simmons 6 Harang 1 Pena 4
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 5, 2014
Frankly, there is a lot to aim at with that lineup, but we’ll begin with the #2 spot in the lineup. BJ Upton, much to the chagrin of virtually everyone, has been penciled in that position for the majority of the season, and now, he has been moved down the order in favor of his brother, Justin. The timing is slightly odd with this move given that BJ has actually begun to hit the ball much better in recent days, but even with that, this is a decision that will be (and should be) soundly applauded.
Secondly, Dan Uggla is out of the lineup once again for the Braves, and that will certainly add fuel to the fire of his upcoming banishment. Many believe that Uggla, who is struggling to the tune of a .190/.248/.280 slash line (yikes), is on his way out in favor of Tommy La Stella (or something else) in the near future, and his absence is certainly something to monitor.
Finally, Aaron Harang is set to hit eighth in Monday’s lineup. Yes, Fredi Gonzalez has decided to hit the pitcher somewhere besides the ninth position. This isn’t the first time that Gonzalez has done this, but as Mark Bowman of MLB.com points out on Twitter, this is the first time that he has made this switch without the soft-hitting Jose Constanza in the lineup. Personally, I am firmly against this maneuver on the basis that the pitcher’s spot should be avoided at all costs, but apparently, desperate times call for desperate measures.
The Atlanta Braves are losing games, and if Monday is any indication, Fredi Gonzalez has decided to manage his way out of the slump.
Tags: Atlanta Braves