Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Birthday, B.J. Upton: Bench Rider

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Today is B.J. Upton‘s 29th birthday.  This is a guy who has everything.  He’s a professional athlete.  He is guaranteed to receive $75,250,000 over the course of his current contract – running through 2017.  141,266 people follow every word he utters on twitter.  He had a mild injury in early July, but that’s okay – his team has an entire medical staff devoted to his health care and rehabilitation.

That’s good, because even backside splinters can be dangerous.

B.J. Upton has been benched.  And it really isn’t like Jordan Schafer is on an offensive tear, either (3 of 19 since the benching), it’s just that B.J. has been epically awful.  Here’s how awful:

  • TUES (8/20).  0-1, strikeout
  • SUN (8/18).  0-3, Run scored, walk, 2 strikeouts
  • SAT (8/17).  0-1 on one pitch.
  • FRI (8/16).  Did Not Play
  • WED (8/14).  0-4, strikeout.
  • TUE (8/13).  DNP.
  • MON (8/12).  0-3, strikeout.
  • SUN (8/11).  0-1, Run scored (as pinch runner).  Sac fly/RBI, strikeout.
  • SAT (8/10).  0-3, 2 strikeouts.
  • FRI (8/9).  0-4, 2 strikeouts.

0 for his last 20 ABs.  No hits for almost two weeks.  10 strikeouts.  1 walk, 2 runs scored.  Reached base only once of his own accord.

These are the kind of numbers that force a manager to bench you – even if you’re a high-paid ‘star’.  When asked about the benching, B.J. at least manned-up and rhetorically asked “What’s my argument?”  He knows he’s struggling.  Everybody knows it.  It’s painful to watch.

On August 7th, there was a glimmer of hope:  a 4-for-5 day vs. the Nationals (oddly enough, with no runs scored and no RBIs in a 6-3 win).  Unfortunately, the Braves had an off-day on August 8th, so… the momentum evaporated just as soon as it seemed to form.

He hasn’t had a single hit since.

Today, the Braves have a daytime get-away game with the Mets.  Brother Justin was scratched from the lineup yesterday because of back and neck stiffness – I imagine that he may be held out again today as part of an excuse to get B.J. back into the lineup for his birthday (lineups are due out shortly as this is being evaluated).  Maybe that birthday thing will help snap him out of this season-long funk.  But probably not.

At least he got a birthday tweet from Kate Upton.

Tags: Atlanta Braves B.J. Upton

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