Dan Uggla missed only four starts at second base all last season with the Marlins, so it was no small thing for him to sit out his second start in the past seven games as a Brave Tuesday night.
That’s how deep Uggla’s slump has gotten. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sat Uggla for the second time in a week to try to break up this hitless pattern he has going.
“Just give him a little breather,” Gonzalez said, who did the same thing May 24 at Pittsburgh.
Since hitting a game-winning home run against Roy Halladay on May 15, Uggla went 4-for-47 (.035) with one RBI and no extra-base hits in 13 games. He knew he didn’t have much room to argue when Gonzalez told him Tuesday afternoon he was out of the lineup.
“It’s very hard,” said Uggla, whose season average was down to .178. “I don’t like not playing, but it’s what he thought was best for the team. I couldn’t talk my way back into the lineup today.”
Uggla went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in Monday’s loss. He hadn’t hit the ball hard since Friday night against the Reds when he lined into a double play and came a few feet from a three-run home run, settling instead for a sacrifice fly. More often than not, though, he’s down in the count and not making solid contact.
“I’ve got to start hitting the gaps and hitting the ball out of the ballpark,” Uggla said. “Stop hoping for balls to find holes and just start hitting them hard enough to find holes.”
Uggla said there isn’t anything mechanically wrong with his swing or his pitch recognition but that his timing is off because he’s not getting his front foot down fast enough and is then late on pitches. His manager thinks it’s probably more mental.
“Sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s just confidence,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just getting that one (hit). You get that one and the next time you get the second one and you think you’re King Kong. That’s what sports is about; it’s about confidence. You’re 0-for-20 and you hit that 3-pointer, bam. Golf shot or whatever, it’s about confidence.”