Jun 19, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves outfielder B.J. Upton (2) throws his bat after striking out during the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Braves at Nationals: Live Thread and Rant

I’m not a big fan of B.J. Upton, and I make no apology at all for that.  Just like any other Atlanta Brave, when he’s playing either in the field or at the bat, I’m going to root for him to succeed, but the loyalty I have as a fan doesn’t get in the way of me wanting what I feel is best for this team.  Like any good fan, I get a bit miffed when my armchair management wisdom (or lack thereof) isn’t being heeded.

I know this is a Live Thread, but  pardon me while I rant for just a minute or two.
While the elder Upton has hit a little better this year than at anytime in his short time with the Atlanta Braves, he’s never done anything to impress me or done much to show clear signs of any significant turnaround.  Sure, he’s a decent outfielder, but his lack of ability with the bat, insistence on trying to hit like a power hitter, and his irksome tendency to argue obvious strikes are just too much for me.

 

The ONLY Reason?

I know he’s being paid too much, and so Frank Wren may feel an overwhelming desire to push this experiment to the limit, but in my opinion the time has clearly come and gone for B.J. Upton to show the Atlanta Braves some return on their investment.  I’m amazed that the fanbase can so easily dismiss Dan Uggla as a lost cause, while B.J. Upton continues to have, seemingly, a great deal of support from both the team and the fanbase.

For example, outside of a few games where Fredi Gonzalez had B.J. Upton sit the bench, he’s been pretty much a mainstay in the 2 hole all season long.  Why?  My goodness, why!?  He’s hitting a paltry .205, has no discipline at the plate, and no self-discipline either!

Even when Tommy La Stella was called up to replace Dan Uggla at 2nd, and began to tear the cover off the ball, I was amazed that he wasn’t a clear choice for the 2 hole. Now Tommy has been moved to the leadoff spot (which doesn’t bother me too much given that Jason Heyward has been moved down and is hitting well), but B.J. Upton remains almost permanently ensconced in the 2 hole, as if he were actually performing well enough to be there. I can only shake my head and wonder why.

Our own Jeff Schafer wrote an article with a poll this morning, asking the fan base what lineup you would have for the Atlanta Braves.  Looking at some early results from that, it’s clear that most of the voters so far would have B.J. Upton in either the 7 or the 8 hole (although Andrelton Simmons got most votes, and B.J. wouldn’t play at all based on votes). Personally, I want a little more prowess right before the pitcher bats, so I’d personally have B.J. in the 7 hole myself.

 

Despite My Objections

Of course I’m a realist, which means I’m well aware that no matter what we fans might want or see the need for, in the end it’s up to manager Fredi Gonzalez (translation Frank Wren?) who plays in that 2 hole, and checking MLB Lineups on Twitter for tonight’s game we can already see that B.J. Upton is strangely, or not so strangely, right back in that 2 hole.


 

Live Open Thread

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