ATLANTA -- Despite returning to the lineup on Thursday after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring, the Braves are still taking a precautionary route when it comes to Ozzie Albies' injury.Braves manager Brian Snitker said Albies is out of the lineup for the third game of their four-game stint with
ATLANTA -- Despite returning to the lineup on Thursday after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring, the Braves are still taking a precautionary route when it comes to Ozzie Albies' injury.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Albies is out of the lineup for the third game of their four-game stint with the Dodgers just as a way for the medical staff to stay ahead of the injury and keep him on a schedule.
"Just kind of going forward, we just wanted to give him a couple days after coming back," Snitker said, "and try to stay away from stretching it too much early."
Albies tweaked his hamstring during the first inning of the Braves' series opener against the Nationals last week. He missed the remainder of the series and the club's two games in Miami. He played in the first two games of the four-game set with the Dodgers, going 1-for-8.
During Albies' absence, Charlie Culberson -- who replaced Albies at second and will do the same on Saturday -- went on an offensive tear, earning recognition from Freddie Freeman as the MVP of the team. Culberson drove in five runs with a .533 average (8-for-15) in three games starting for Albies at second base.
Prior to Saturday night's game against the Dodgers, Albies participated in all pregame warmups and batting practice without a noticeable limp or signs of any discomfort. Snitker is confident that, should the need arise, Albies could be first off the bench to fill the need -- in fact, he expects it.
"He can come off the bench and play and he probably will," Snitker said. "It was more of a scheduled-type thing looking at it, not stressing [the hamstring] a lot."
Like much of the Braves' offense since the All-Star break, it's taken Albies a while to get back in an offensive rhythm, just as the team as a whole has struggled to string together big hits. Albies is batting .143 (3-for-21) with two RBIs and nine strikeouts in his last six games.
In the same breath, the Braves have lost 12 of their last 17 games. Prior to July 2, the Braves were averaging five runs a game with the pitching rotation boasting an overall ERA of 3.33. But throughout the rest of the month, runs have been harder to come by for the Braves' offense and not as difficult for opposing teams. Though the Braves are averaging just one run fewer than they were before the start of July, the rotation holds a 5.69 ERA in that span.
"We need to kind of get the feel back again that we've seemed to have lost," Snitker said. "How to do it? I don't know. It's not that easy … it's a six-month season and we have had four really good months, but that doesn't make a year."
With a win on Saturday, the Dodgers would take the season series over the Braves after taking two of three in L.A. at the beginning of June. At this point, the best the Braves can do is a split, which would mark six consecutive series that Atlanta has not won.
"It's not going to be easy through six months. You're going to have tough times, as a team, as individuals," Snitker said. "You have to fight through it."
Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.