Aug 4, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder B.J. Upton (2) walks back onto the field after his home run was ruled a double against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies, 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Since Peaking, Atlanta Braves Outfielder B.J. Upton Has Put Up Goose Eggs

Atlanta Braves outfielder, B.J. Upton came off the disabled list on August 3rd after missing nearly a month (July 12th) of major league baseball.  And during his first five games after his return to the Braves lineup, it seemed like we were getting the B.J. we signed instead of the 2013 B.J.  But since then, the production level has went down.

Aug 3, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder B.J. Upton (2) reacts after striking out in the twelfth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies, 5-4 in 12 innings. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In his first five games back to the ATL, Upton had 10 hits in 21 at bats.  Upton then peaked with his batting average after a 4-5 game increasing it to .198 – But then his next five game, B.J. has put up a goose egg in the hits column.  In 15 at bats, Upton has zero hits.

This has put Fredi Gonzalez in a position of another platoon.  At the beginning of the season, it was the third base spot with Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson battling…but now, it’s center field.  Gonzalez has gone with Jordan Schafer more frequently in the past couple games in the month of August leading Upton to the bench.

Schafer continues to get on base and make things happen when he’s in the lineup.  His on base percentage is up to .387 for the season and since returning from the DL, the Braves are 3-0 with Schafer in the starting lineup.

Upton is being held out of Braves lineup Saturday night for the third straight game in which the Braves were facing a right-hander, Schafer will get the nod and bat 6th.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Upton will be back in the lineup Sunday against the Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, giving the impression that he’s platooning his .188-hitting center fielder.

B.J. though is not complaining as he explain to reports before Saturday’s game…

“I’m just rolling with it,” Upton said.  “If I’m in the lineup, I’m in there.  If I’m not, then I’m not.  I don’t really have an argument.  What’s my argument?  I don’t.  So he’s going to play who he wants to play and that’s fine with me.  Like I said, as long as we win, I’ll support my teammates regardless.  We all have the same goal, that’s to get a championship, get a ring.  Wherever I can pitch in to help, I’ll do it.”

With the playoffs quickly approaching and B.J. still struggling, it’s nice to see Gonzalez giving Schafer a chance in the starting lineup.  As a big supporter of Schafer, hopefully he continues his 2013 success.

 

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