Manager Fredi Gonzalez inserted Jordan Schafer into left field and the leadoff spot with Justin Upton nursing a sore left hand on Sunday afternoon. The 26-year-old responded with a big game.
Schafer went 4-for-5 and finished a triple short of the cycle in the Atlanta Braves 7-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers to salvage one game in the series. He was a catalyst for a reeling offense that put up zero runs and six hits in the first two games of this series against the rotation with the worst starters’ earned run average in the MLB (5.25).
He began the game with a double down the first base line and eventually scored on a two-out grand slam home run by Brian McCann. He demonstrated his speed with a bunt single and stolen base in the second inning. His power was on full display with a solo home run in the fourth inning that went into the second deck in right field, and he capped off his day with a bloop single down the left field line in the sixth inning.
The young outfielder showcased a variety of skills and has demonstrated in 2013 why he was once such a highly-touted prospect. As a starter, Schafer is hitting .298 with a .416 on-base percentage. He has compiled a .274 average and .400 OBP hitting first in the batting order and is hitting .389 in Braves’ wins in 2013.
Schafer is the only true leadoff hitter on the Braves’ roster and brings an added dimension to the team when he’s in the lineup. This has allowed him to carve out a nice role as a fill-in starter.
Following a scoreless streak that reached 24 innings, the Braves were desperate for runs early and often on Sunday. Schafer did his part to make that happen and continues to impress this season with the Braves.