Odds and ends: Uggla not happy; Chipper not planning a team meeting
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez shuffled his lineup for Sunday afternoon’s matchup against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. He moved Jason Heyward down in the lineup and stuck with his plan to keep Dan Uggla out of the lineup when he there is not a favorable matchup.
Gonzalez revealed this plan last Sunday before a matchup against San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. But that did not stop Uggla from taking time to argue against this decision while meeting with his manager on Sunday afternoon.
“I hit a two-run homer off (Hamels) in the last game last year to put us up,” Uggla said. “It’s not a numbers thing for me, especially in September. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all…Nobody agrees with not playing. It’s just because I know what I can do, especially in September when I’ve been there before in big-game situations, especially last year. It’s frustrating to say the least.”
As Hamels was making a three-inning postseason tuned on the final day of the 2011 season, Uggla drilled a two-run homer off his nemesis. Still he has batted just .145 (8-for-55) with two home runs in his career against the veteran left-hander.
Uggla has recorded at least one hit in each of the past five games and homered twice during this span. Still he has batted .152 with a .276 slugging percentage in his past 73 games.
When the Braves face left-handed pitching over the next few weeks, Chipper Jones might continue to spell Heyward in the third spot of the lineup. During Sunday’s matchup against Hamels, Jones batted third and Heyward was moved to the sixth spot.
Heyward earned the opportunity to hit in the third spot while batting .293 with 18 home runs and a .990 OPS in the 80 games he has played since June 2. But against left-handed pitchers during this span, he has batted .225 with four home runs and a .630 OPS. Against right-handers, he has batted .349 with 14 homers and a 1.099 OPS.
No plans for a team meeting: Chipper Jones made it known that he has found no reason to hold a team meeting with the hope it might halt the Braves’ recent struggles.
“Trust me, when I feel like something needs to be said I say it,” Jones said. “That’s my job. I don’t need to say anything right now. I’m not going to harp on the past. I’m not going to harp on yesterday and 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 other approach other than that is not a good thing.”
The Braves entered Sunday having lost 10 of their previous 14 games. Still Jones is among those from the baseball world who seem to believe team meetings can cause more harm than good. <p>
“We are mindless numbskulls,” Jones said. “We need to think as little as possible. We’re routine oriented and regimented. Any break in that makes us start thinking. That’s when bad (stuff) starts happening.” <p>