Jason Heyward is mired in a three-week slump that got him dropped to sixth in the Braves’ batting order Monday night for Game 4 of the division series.
The rookie right fielder was 9-for-64 (.140) with one extra-base hit, one RBI and 19 strikeouts in his past 17 games, including 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in his first three postseason games.
Monday marked the first time that Heyward hit lower than third since May 5, when he batted sixth. Heyward hit second in 99 games during the regular season and third in 11 games.
“Just trying to switch the lineup to get some [offense],” manager Bobby Cox said before Monday’s game. “We got shut out in Game 1. Yesterday we were shut out until the eighth inning.”
The Braves hit .214 in their past 15 games, including a meager .165 with 37 strikeouts in the first three games of the best-of-five division series.
They lost 1-0 in the series opener and 3-2 in Game 3 on Sunday, when they had one hit through seven innings.
Facing elimination if they lost Monday, Cox batted Matt Diaz in the second spot that Heyward had occupied since early summer.
“Try to get Matty up front, maybe, and get on three or four times, see what happens,” Cox said. “And maybe Jason can drive somebody in from down there as well.”
Leadoff hitter Omar Infante has also slump since mid-August, batting .197 (14-for-71) with three extra-base hits in his past 17 games before Monday, with only three runs, five walks and four RBIs in that stretch.