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Braves continue batting pitcher eighth

SAN FRANCISCO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has not been overwhelmed by the results since he began placing his starting pitcher in the lineup's eighth spot last week. But he is planning to stick with this non-traditional lineup arrangement until his slumbering lineup shows some consistent signs of life.

Gonzalez's lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Giants had Gavin Floyd batting eighth and second baseman Ramiro Pena positioned in the ninth spot. This marked the seventh straight game he opted to bat his pitcher one spot higher than normal.

"It doesn't really make my toes tingle," said Gonzalez. "But sometimes you've just got to do something a little different. It's better than doing the same thing you were doing."

Though the Braves entered Monday having won four of their past five games, their success had more to do with their pitching staff than their offense, which averaged 2.7 runs in the first six games of this non-traditional lineup arrangement. This meager output has at least been an improvement compared to 1.7 runs that had been averaged in the six previous games.

While these sample sizes are small, Gonzalez's reasoning behind shaking up his lineup had more to do with the fact that his team has averaged just 3.19 runs per game this season -- the National League's second-lowest mark.

Before Sunday's sweep-clinching 5-2 win over the Cubs, the Braves had totaled eight runs in their four previous victories.

"At some point when we start rocking and rolling offensively, I think we'll go back to a more traditional [lineup]," Gonzalez said. "It's just something we're trying."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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