McLouth returns to the top of the lineup
After playing the entirety of Friday afternoon’s 13-inning loss, Melky Cabrera returned to the clubhouse on Saturday afternoon and learned that he was getting a chance to rest.
Braves manager Bobby Cox has Nate McLouth starting in center and handling the leadoff role for tonight’s contest against Giants right-hander Todd Wellemeyer. If McLouth can show some consistency at the plate, he could find allow Cox to utilize his original plan to have him in the leadoff spot on a daily basis.
Obviously many of you will be interested to see if Jason Heyward can escape his mini-funk tonight. While going 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts since Opening Day, the young phenom hasn’t looked like the same disciplined hitter that we saw in Spring Training.
But while the strikeout total might be somewhat alarming, there really isn’t any reason to panic or start making any comparisons to Jordan Schafer. This is a 20-year-old kid who shares the same mortal flaws as the legendary figures who couldn’t avoid the rude initiation this game presents.
Ken Griffey Jr. recorded one hit in the 15 at-bats he tallied through the first four games of his career and the great Hank Aaron had three hits (two doubles) in the 15 at-bats that he carried into the fifth game of his career.
Those four strikeouts that Heyward registered on Friday afternoon could have been a product of his desire to drive a ball into the bay. Or quite simply, he might have simply been showing some fatigue after making the first cross-country trip of his professional career.
Whatever the case, there isn’t much reason to currently worry about Heyward. In fact, if he’s able to end this mini-slump quickly, you’ll have more reason to understand why his demeanor is just as much of an asset as his tremendous physical skills.
Before I head down to the clubhouse, I wanted to let you know that Scott Proctor recorded two strikeouts and worked perfect inning in his debut for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday night. I’m still thinking the veteran reliever could join the Atlanta bullpen at some point next weekend.