Gonzalez continues to shuffle Braves lineup

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez voiced his concerns over the Braves’ lack of offense after Saturday’s loss to the Phillies and then continued to do his part to change its course by shuffling his lineup on Sunday.

Gonzalez sat struggling Dan Uggla for the third time in 11 games, and he dropped Jason Heyward from the third spot in the order, where he’s been a fixture since June 29, against left-hander Cole Hamels. Martin Prado got his fifth start at second base this season. Heyward hit sixth for the first time since June 24 at Boston.

Entering Sunday, the Braves had scored two or fewer runs eight times in their previous 13 games.

“I wouldn’t call it desperation or panic or anything like that,” Gonzalez said. “I think if you don’t do something you’d be remiss. What’s the definition of insanity, do the same thing over and over again and come out with the same conclusion [while expecting something different]?”

Gonzalez gave the impression that the move with Heyward might be something he does against left-handers, whom Heyward is hitting only .215 (43-for-200) compared to .312 (87-for-279) against right-handers.

“Trying to lengthen the lineup a little bit,” he said.

The last time Gonzalez sat Uggla vs. Hamels on Aug. 7, he pointed to his career numbers against Hamels; Uggla is 8-for-55 (.145) against Hamels). This time Gonzalez spoke in generalities, which would seem to portend more time on the bench for the struggling second baseman. Uggla has hit only .152 (37-for-243) in his past 73 games since June 5.

“We’ll see how we take him as we go forward,” Gonzalez said.

Chipper Jones, who hit third for most of the first 18 years of his career, was back in the third spot for the eighth time this season.

Jones, who had two hits in two of the Braves’ previous three games entering Sunday, would rather talk with his bat right now than instigate a team meeting.

“Trust me, when I feel something needs to be said, I say it,” Jones said. “That’s my job. I don’t need to say anything right now, and I don’t want to. I’m not going to harp on the past. I’m not going to harp on yesterday. I’m not going to harp on tomorrow. We show up. We play the game as well as we can today, and let the chips fall where they may. Any approach other than that is not a good one.”

Jones concedes more talk just adds pressure.

“We are mindless numbskulls,” Jones said. “We need to think as little as possible. We’re routine-oriented. We’re very regimented. And any break in that makes us start thinking and then bad (things) start happening.”

39 comments Add your comment

coastalbrave

September 2nd, 2012
4:39 pm

David from Athens, AL

September 2nd, 2012
4:40 pm

Thanks Carroll

lee maye

September 2nd, 2012
4:41 pm

Good move to bench Uggla. Better move would be to bench him for about 10 games. Another good move would be to start Constanza in LF tomorrow if facing a lefty. Get some speed and d in the lineup and keep Prado at 2B.

owen

September 2nd, 2012
4:41 pm

already in mid September form…got a good shot to exceed last year’s futility

lee maye

September 2nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Meant if facing a righty tomorrow, play Constanza in Left and Prado at 2B. We don’t need Lyle Overbay in there or Baker.

74bravesjersey

September 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

Carroll; How many call-ups are they allowed or alotted?

Mets R Best

September 2nd, 2012
4:51 pm

While the Braves are choking, the Mighty Mets have won 7 out of their last 8. This included a series with the Phillies where, unlike the Braves, the Mighty Mets won. We can’t wait until we play the Braves next weekend. It will be fun to see the Mighty Mets help contribute to another Braves collapse.

JHarber

September 2nd, 2012
4:51 pm

Thank you Freddi for listening for a change.

Casey

September 2nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Michael Bourn is batting .229 since the All-Star break. Why not play Constanza?

JHarber

September 2nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Mets R Best we will see but it looks like Freddi may be learning a few things.

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
4:56 pm

I hope McCann will take a hard look at the Braves situation and come out of the lineup and go on the DL. An August to forget 13 singles in 72 at bats 2 RBI and most telling 1 run scored in 25 starts..181 Batting Average .181 Slugging Pct.

Casey

September 2nd, 2012
4:56 pm

It is Fredi, not Freddi.

Preston Hannatized

September 2nd, 2012
4:59 pm

Mindless numbskulls. Nyuk yuk yuk. Why I outta ….

JHarber

September 2nd, 2012
5:00 pm

Casey

September 2nd, 2012
5:00 pm

Actually, why hasn’t Constanza been here all year? I don’t believe any other team in baseball would have him sitting in the minors batting .314 while the big league team has hit so poorly.

Dum-Bass

September 2nd, 2012
5:03 pm

Either Fredi G has gotten a case of the “smarts” today or he has been reading these blogs. Probably the latter. I think “smarts” evades him like the plaque. This lineup is almost identical to the one used in the last 3 wins.

Casey

September 2nd, 2012
5:04 pm

And why not call up Mejia? He hit .298 with 24 HR, 92 RBI. He is right handed and an excellent 1B. I love Freddie, but he hit .240 in August. We need some offense, especially against lefthanders. Mejia would be a logical choice.

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
5:04 pm

Mets R Best
Not that the Braves need a lesson on choking but until last year the Mets were the KINGS of the September Choke.

bravo66

September 2nd, 2012
5:05 pm

Last year Chipper hit 2nd or 6th most of the season with a day or 2 off every wk. Then sept came and freddi panicked and put him back in the 3 hole and played him every day. The Braves have played well most of the season with Chipper hitting 4th or 5th. Keep him there and leave Heyward be. And please leave Prado at 2nd. Uggla looks like Andruw Jones near the end of his Braves run. No adjustments at the plate. Just whiff whiff whiff!

Casey

September 2nd, 2012
5:06 pm

Luis Durango hit .291with 46 SB. Why not call him up and see what he can do?

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
5:06 pm

Casey
If only McCann and Uggla could hit .240 the Braves would be in 1st Place.

Mets R Best

September 2nd, 2012
5:07 pm

Yes, and we are glad to say that the Braves have now replaced the Mets as the all time chokers.

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
5:23 pm

Mets R Best
What exactly does that leave the Mets to be best at if not choking.

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
5:30 pm

I think Fredi needs to pull a Bobby Cox here,and get run by the home plate ump.If Malholm has to throw the ball over the white of the plate ,he is going to get killed.

bobby

September 2nd, 2012
5:31 pm

The Braves can’t hit pitchers they have never seen before and they can’t hit pitchers they have faced before, so who is left? They don’t have to worry about who they will face in the playoffs though unless they consider spring training the playoffs.

DaveinNEPA

September 2nd, 2012
5:39 pm

5-0 and the 1st inning isn’t even over.

No way to sugarcoat it. This team flat out sucks!!!!!!!

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

The Suck-a -Thon with runners in scoring position continues .0 for 4 in the 1st Inning.

Busch Leaguer

September 2nd, 2012
5:43 pm

Also for note:McCann and Uggla sitting together on the bench pouting.

Ken Stallings

September 2nd, 2012
6:37 pm

I’ve been an ardent Braves fan since the mid seventies! I did not watch them on WTBS until 1981 because that was the first year my family got cable TV. But, from then on, as a high school teenager I made every effort to watch the team play.

1982 was a year for the ages and you got the impression it might be a good year when Bobby Cox’s team in 1981 put on a September surge to finish the year at .500. But, the 1982 limped along and backed into the playoffs and got swept by the Cardinals and then the 1983 team imploded against the Padres with Bob Horner’s wrist turning into jello.

I will never forget him diving to his left to snag a sharp grounder, and Skip Caray’s voice announcing that Horner broke his wrist again! It was pretty much over in 1983 after that. Then, it went downhill fast from there and Dale Murphy was about the only reason to watch the team. Even iconic pitcher Phil Neikro earned his 300 victory in Yankee pinstripes — what a downer was that as Ted Turner thought it a good idea to let Neikro go.

Then, the youth movement and perpetual DFL finishes paid off as 1991 led to an incredible run of division titles, NL pennants, and one World Series trophy.

Now, we are stuck with a faceless ownership corporation with a tertiary president who’s supposed to make the baseball decisions. Hasn’t really been the same since Ted Turner left!

Looks like four straight losses, and 0-2 in September, and as I wrote last night, this will make it 4-11 over the last 15 games! It is very sad, but even I have to say the implosion has appeared to start in earnest and it won’t end well for Frank Wren or Fredi Gonzalez. About the only “good” news I could see out of a second consecutive implosion would be a change in ownership — get a real owner to take the team. But, Liberty Media appears to enjoy the tax advantages more than one originally thought they would.

HOF 10

September 2nd, 2012
8:21 pm

I’m thinking they are going to do a reversal of last season and make the playoffs. Even if they don’t, we’ll all be there on Sept. 30 for Chipper’s last regular-season home game, right? Gonna be a good ending either way this year. Great player, great citizen, ranks only behind Henry Aaron in my book.

Ebenezer Snerdberg

September 2nd, 2012
8:39 pm

MONOFASITCH! CHIPPER DO A DURBIN!

GO BRAVES!

Peachstealth

September 2nd, 2012
8:51 pm

FANTASTIC!!!. 5 runs in the 9th walk off MAMMO by CJ10

Amber Girl

September 2nd, 2012
9:07 pm

OK Tell me all the bad things about them now. I bet 90% of you quit on them.

snowball's chance

September 2nd, 2012
11:24 pm

Fredi needs to start coaching like his job depends on it. He may be doing just that.

lee maye

September 2nd, 2012
11:38 pm

Not Carroll but Braves or any team are allowed to expand roster to 40. Braves currently have 30 with the additons of Baker, Boscan, Overbay, Constanza, and Moylan. Simmons will make 31. They could easily bring up Teheran, JJ, Delgado, Gearin, and Varvaro.

They could not bring up Gattis, Durango, and Mejia without adding them to the 40 man roster and dropping someone.

Russ Nixon

September 3rd, 2012
4:52 am

Looks like we need a catcher, and agree on Constanza. How about getting a look at Pastornicky at 2B?

Brave New World

September 3rd, 2012
8:46 am

Mets R Best: You and youR Mets R a peRfec fit.

Brave New World

September 3rd, 2012
8:48 am

So I spelled PeRfect without a “t.” Who cares? It’s only Mets R Best.

NW Florida Fan

September 3rd, 2012
11:08 am

Been a Braves fan for 40 years, since my Dad got cable TV and TBS. So, I’ve seen a lot.

My statement today is that Dan Uggla simply is not a starting MLB caliber 2nd baseman. His fielding is average, and his hitting is below average. And the Braves have agreed to pay him $13 million for the next 3 seasons. He is currently the 2nd highest paid Brave. Bad contract.

I like the guy. I was a fan when he played for the Marlins. I like the name (he’s not just Uggla — he’s DAN Uggla.) I like the Popeye arms. I like the slugging.

He has the services of a great hitting coach. During this off-season, he really needs to dedicate himself to improving his hitting average. Right now, he seems to be following the Jeff Francouer method – swing, miss, SWING HARDER! I believe that he can become an good hitter, and the power is important. Rest during November, and use December, January, and February to become a hitter.

Until then, I much prefer Prado at 2nd. Use the Lowe money to make Bourn happy. Use the Chipper money to sign a quality outfielder. Use the JJ money to give raises.

I just hope we don’t have to eat another bad contract! (Anybody remember Mike Hampton, Derek Lowe, Kawakami, etc.?)

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