No, this is not a Cardinals vs Brewers recap- it is about a team that finally has speed.Â Fredi Gonzalez is trying to make the most of his newly acquired assets in Michael Bourn and Jose Constanza.Â By batting Constanza ninth, he is takes some pressure off the young speedster, and his pitcher for that matter.Â It would have worked too, if the Braves had not continued their habit of hitting into double plays.Â Dan Uggla did his part, but he did not have the luxury of runners on base during his at bats.Â Atlanta also found themselves in unfamiliar territory with Jair Jurrjens giving up early runs.
Tony Larussa has been often criticized for batting his pitchers eighth.Â Many have called it a stunt, but Fredi Gonzalez finally has a line up that makes him realize that this may just work.Â Think about it, you have Constanza in the line up, but the pitcher is up next.Â If Constanza gets on base, you are relying on your pitcher to make something happen offensively.Â If you bat him after the pitcher, you have back to back speed in the line up.
Michael Bourn did his part and quickly showed his ability to get on base, but Prado hitting into a fluke double play ended what could have been early scoring for the Braves.Â Instead, Livan Hernandez got out of the inning unscathed. Â It is new to Atlanta, but if they can master the small ball, Uggla may actually have someone on base when hits a bomb like he did two times last night to extend his hitting streak to 23 games.Â David Ross also hit a long shot, but struck out and hit into a double play with runners on base.
This is not a new problem for the Braves, but they are not used to Jair Jurrjens carrying them through offensive woes.Â Since returning from the All-Star break, Jurrjens has not been the dominate pitcher he was in the first half.Â He is definitely having trouble hitting his spots, it could be a result of timing or mechanics.Â It is something to keep an eye on, but if the offense can start to gel from top to bottom, it will be less of an issue.
The same to teams go again tonight with Derek Lowe facing John Lannon.Â The Braves are hoping for a change of fortunes.Â Derek Lowe has struggled this season, while Lannon has seven wins versus Atlanta.Â The Braves have to take advantage of lesser teams such as the Nationals if they want to stay in the race.Â After wins by both the Phillies and Diamondback, Atlanta is seven back in the NL East and only two up in the Wild Card.