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Gonzalez discusses baseball's downturn in offense

ST. LOUIS -- While the Braves' offensive struggles have been well chronicled, manager Fredi Gonzalez sees some league-wide trends that are hard to ignore.

The Braves have scored just 129 runs in their first 41 games, which ranks them last in the National League. But Atlanta isn't the only team suffering a power outage. On Friday, there were six shutouts in Major League Baseball and there were four more shutouts on Saturday, and teams scored two runs or fewer in seven other games.

"Offense is down, in the last three or four years it has continually gone down," Gonzalez said. "And then you look at the scoring. We scored one yesterday, somebody got shut out one-nothing, two or three or four teams got one or two runs. We may have to revisit industry-wise how we go about the game."

Atlanta got a first-hand look at just where the game might be headed as the Cardinals played small ball en route to a 4-1 win over the Braves. The Cardinals had four bunt base hits in the game, the first time a team had that many in one game since 2003.

St. Louis, a team known for its power over the past decade, has just 23 home runs at the season's quarter mark.

Gonzalez wonders if teams need to start re-evaluating how they scout, draft and develop players, perhaps de-emphasizing the importance of raw power and focusing more on defense, speed and other quantitative analysis.

"I think obviously the group that's here now, it's hard to change as an industry. ... We might try to revisit how we draft players, how we bring them up through the Minor Leagues and that kind of stuff," Gonzalez said.

Joe Harris is a contributor to
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