Manager Fredi Gonzalez doesn't read the papers and doesn't go on line. He does check up on the SABR statistics -- he's a member himself. He was skeptical about joining at first, thinking it was a group for second-guessers. Then he discovered that they loved the game for the same reasons he does, they just enjoyed quantifying it.
So, no, the reason right fielder Jason Heyward hit in the second spot in the order Monday against the Dodgers -- his second consecutive game batting there -- is not because Gonzalez is caving in to public opinion. It's because he's a baseball-superstitious guy.
Heyward batted second in Sunday's game because Gonzalez was giving third baseman Chipper Jones and center fielder Nate McLouth the day off, and he rearranged his lineup to account for that. Once Heyward got two hits in that spot -- including his fourth home run of the young season -- well, that was enough to try him there again.
Gonzalez, you should know, has even changed the place in the dugout where he sits to talk to his beat writers if he feels the Braves didn't have good luck in a previous game.
With Heyward batting second behind left fielder Martin Prado, McLouth moved down to eighth, a move meant to keep the rest of the lineup in the same order they've been in with one exception: third baseman Chipper Jones, catcher Brian McCann, second baseman Dan Uggla, first baseman Freddie Freeman moving into the sixth spot ahead of shortstop Alex Gonzalez, then McLouth and right-hander Tim Hudson.
The slight lineup adjustment didn't jolt the offense in the 4-2 loss to the Dodgers: Heyward went 0-for-4 and Freeman was 0-for-3. McLouth was 2-for-4 and scalded another ball.
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