Braves' Gonzalez shakes up slumping lineup

  • Follow Baseball

ATLANTA — Looking to shake up his run-challenged team, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez decided on something drastic.

Pitcher Aaron Harang was batting eighth for Monday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Second baseman Ramiro Pena took the ninth spot in the order for Atlanta, which also switched around brothers B.J. and Justin Upton. Justin moved up to the second spot, where B.J. had been hitting. The older sibling dropped down to fifth in the order.

The Braves were mired in a six-game losing streak, their longest in two years.

“The offense is sputtering around,” Gonzalez said in the dugout before his team went out for batting practice. “Why not do it?”

Atlanta scored only 10 runs in its last six games, and the lack of clutch hitting was galling in a weekend sweep by the San Francisco Giants. The Braves stranded 25 runners and hit just 3-of-21 (.143) with runners in scoring position.

But, even with the Braves still clinging to first in the NL East, the offense has been a season-long issue. The team has been shut out five times and scored only one run in seven games. If not for dominant starting – the Braves have won three games 1-0 – there would be even louder grumbling about the state of the team.

Gonzalez wouldn’t say how long he plans to keep the pitcher in the eighth spot, but indicated it won’t be for just one game.

“I’m not going to say we’ll do it for the next 10 games or two weeks,” he said. “But something this drastic, you need to do it a little bit. We’ll see how it goes.”

With Pena in the lineup, Dan Uggla was on the bench for the third time in four games. Coming off the worst season of his career, Uggla is hitting just .190 with two homers and 10 RBI.

Gonzalez said he was merely looking for the best matchups.

In fact, the manager took umbrage when a reporter used the word “benched” and said later that Uggla will likely be back in the lineup on Tuesday.

“He’s not benched,” Gonzalez snapped. “He’s just not playing today.”

But Uggla, one of the team’s most highly paid players, was clearly upset by his lack of playing time.

“Nobody tells me anything anymore,” he said. “I come to the field and do my job. That’s it.”


WHO: St. Louis Cardinals (Tyler Lyons 0-2, 4.20) at Atlanta Braves (Gavin Floyd 0-0, 4.48)

TIME: 7:10 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports South

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justthefacts 05/06/14 - 08:45 am
Plan B

Well, that didn't work. What's next? How the heck does Uggs complain. Good grief, he's terrible. Of course, so is BJ. $100M bucks down the drain.

GiantsAllDay 05/06/14 - 10:21 am
I have the perfect solution

I have the perfect solution for the slumping Braves: HIRE ANOTHER UPTON!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
Honestly, I don't think leaving a piece of crap ball park for another piece of crap ball park will help much. Not when management on the field all the way up to the front office doesn't know anything about the game. But the fans do a racist tomahawk chop quite well.....

rmwhitley 05/06/14 - 10:47 am
I've said it

before and I'll say it again, the Braves are in post-season form.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
Hyde Park activist not pleased with city buyout offer
Charles Utley, who fought to get Augusta to address contamination concerns in the Hyde Park community, now is questioning the city's offer of $90,500 for his four rental properties there.