Lineup in line with Fredi's late spring projections
MILWAUKEE -- Holding to the belief that the mix will change multiple times over the course of the season, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez becomes visibly irritated when asked lineup-related questions, especially on Opening Day.
There were no surprises with the lineup for Monday's season opener against the Brewers. As Gonzalez indicated during the final days of Spring Training, B.J. Upton was positioned in the second spot and Chris Johnson batted cleanup.
Evan Gattis had been targeted for the cleanup spot before hitting .204 (10-for-49) during the Grapefruit League season. Gattis' struggles led Gonzalez to move him down to the seventh spot on Monday. This put the second-year catcher between Dan Uggla and eight-hole hitter Andrelton Simmons.
"[Making out the lineup] is just about what fits the needs of your club," Gonzalez said. "People make too big of a deal about the lineup."
By placing Upton in the second spot, the Braves are counting on the veteran outfielder to be more consistent than he was last year, when he produced career lows in batting average (.185) and on-base percentage (.268).
The Braves are hoping Upton benefits from the increased number of fastballs he could see batting between leadoff hitter Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, who will be followed by Johnson and Justin Upton.