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Worth noting

Schafer started in center for Upton against the Cardinals on Sunday. Upton has struggled during the road trip, going 4-for-19 and striking out 13 times. His 0-for-4 Saturday with four strikeouts led Gonzalez to decide to give him a day off.

"People sometimes go through some tough stretches," Gonzalez said. "That's why you run Schafer in there and get him back in there tomorrow."

Jonny Venters had to cut short his bullpen Wednesday due to soreness as he attempts to come back from Tommy John surgery. He will be re-evaluated when the Braves return home Monday, but Gonzalez believes the soreness is normal.

"I don't know how many pitches he threw, but it was not the full slated amount we wanted him to," Gonzalez said. "They didn't seemed concerned over it. They made it seem like part of the process."

Jamie Garcia, the starter for the Cardinals on Sunday, offers just what the ailing Braves offense might need -- a left-handed starter. The Braves entered Sunday fifth in the National League against lefties with a .272 average. Chris Johnson is tops in the National League with a .524 average against southpaws.

"I feel this team can hit anybody at any given time," Gonzalez said before Saturday's game. "Talented bunch of guys, we just haven't gotten going. It may be today, you never know. You look at matchups and you look the guy who's pitching and think we've got no chance today and that's the night you score 11. And then you're chomping on the bit and thinking we're going to crush whoever because the matchup is favorable whether he's a lefty or a righty and the next thing you know he's in the eighth with a one-hitter. That's the game of baseball."

Joe Harris is a contributor to
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