Atlanta Braves: Foltynewicz looks to shut down Cards in decisive Game 5
By Steven Teal
How Should Brian Snitker Set the Lineup?
The young guys have all stepped up this postseason for the Atlanta Braves and we are lucky that they have.
The Atlanta Braves have had little support from the middle of the lineup in this series. That’s something that has every Atlanta fan concerned. Freeman, Donaldson, Markakis, Joyce, and McCann have all struggled to get anything going.
Here’s a breakdown of how each player has performed in the middle of the lineup:
Freddie Freeman: 2 for 16, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Josh Donaldson: 2 for 15, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Nick Markakis: 3 for 17, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Matt Joyce: 1 for 9, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Brian McCann: 2 for 13, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Absolutely atrocious numbers from the most important part of the lineup.
Matt Joyce has struggled to hit the way he did most of 2019 and that has hurt. Meanwhile, Adam Duvall has provided 2 of the biggest at-bats during this entire series coming off of the bench.
If there is one thing I would immediately suggest to Snit, it would be to put Adam Duvall in the starting lineup.
Not only has Duvall crushed Cardinals pitching in this series (.429 avg, 1 HR, 5 RBI) but he also has great career numbers against St. Louis.
Duvall carries a career slash line of .296/.356/.510 with an OPS of .866 when facing the Red Birds. This includes 12 doubles, 3 triples, 8 homers, and 36 RBI. He absolutely has to be in the lineup as he is one of the few Atlanta hitters that has had success with runners on base.
You have got to go with the hot hand instead of playing the righty-lefty matchup. I know it’s hard for most of us to imagine that we want Duvall in the lineup after how his season ended. However, this is the playoffs and there’s always one player who steps up that no one expects to.
I’m happy that Duvall (along with Dansby) has been able to be one of those guys for the Braves.
I’d set the lineup like this:
2. Ozzie Albies
3. Freddie Freeman
4. Josh Donaldson
5. Nick Markakis
6. Adam Duvall
7. Brian McCann
8. Dansby Swanson
9. Mike Foltynewicz
I’d say move Dansby up in the order but he’s done so well in the 8 hole, that I’d just leave him where he is. You’ve got to think that at least Freeman and Donaldson are going to snap out of this streak eventually.
They’re running out of time to turn it around and the team needs them to show up badly.
Four-for-34 with runners in scoring position isn’t going to cut it for the Braves if they expect to advance and beat the Dodgers or Nationals in the NLCS. Every run is important in the playoffs.