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MLB Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves: 5 Players Who Must Step Up in August

5 Braves Who Must Step Up In August

Atlanta Braves
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Things are getting bad quickly for the Atlanta Braves, who have lost six games in a row on the team's current West coast road trip. The Braves are 0-9 in one-run games in a 9-16 stretch that has seen Atlanta fall further and further behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East. The Braves need to right the ship as soon as possible, and doing so will start with these five players.

5. Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson Atlanta Braves
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5. Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson Atlanta Braves
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The Atlanta Braves have been anemic offensively as of late, but Fredi Gonzalez's bunch is a completely different club when Chris Johnson is swinging a hot bat in the middle of the order. If Atlanta is going to make a run at the Nats in the NL East, Johnson will have a large part in doing so. The Braves third baseman needs to have a big August.

4. Alex Wood

Alex Wood Atlanta Braves
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4. Alex Wood

Alex Wood Atlanta Braves
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The Braves somehow failed to land a starting pitcher at the trade deadline, putting a ton of pressure on the current guys in the rotation. Wood has been solid, but he needs to really step up his game down the stretch if Atlanta has a chance in the division. His next start is in Seattle on Tuesday against Felix Hernandez, a perfect opportunity for Wood to showcase his talent to the baseball world while helping Atlanta stop the current losing skid.

3. Evan Gattis

Evan Gattis Atlanta Braves
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3. Evan Gattis

Evan Gattis Atlanta Braves
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When the Atlanta offense is performing well, it's because Evan Gattis is a terror in the middle of the order. Gattis has been off his game lately, however, as his baserunning blunder eventually cost Atlanta the game Sunday afternoon in San Diego. His batting average sits at a respectable .280, but Gattis needs to go on a tear to help the Braves catch Washington.

2. BJ Upton

BJ Upton Atlanta Braves
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2. BJ Upton

BJ Upton Atlanta Braves
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Admittedly, it might not even be possible for BJ Upton to have a good month of August. Upton has simply been horrible since the start for the Braves, as his massive contract is turning into one of the worst in Braves history. Despite that, Upton had a decent month of July, and if Fredi Gonzalez is going to stubbornly keep Upton in the leadoff spot, he needs to start finding more ways to get on base and create run-scoring opportunities.

1. Mike Minor

Mike Minor Atlanta Braves
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1. Mike Minor

Mike Minor Atlanta Braves
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Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Atlanta's 2014 season has been Mike Minor. The Braves' starting rotation has already been decimated with injuries, and it was generally accepted that Minor would be Atlanta's number two or three starter in 2014. But things have gone horribly, as Minor currently owns a 5.42 ERA. It cannot be put into words how much it would mean for the Braves for Mike Minor to return to form down the stretch in 2014.

Jacob Dennis is an Atlanta Braves writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.