When the stretch run hit for the Atlanta Braves in 2014, they fell completely apart. It is well documented how many games they lost and how far they have fallen in the standings. The only thing that the Braves can do now is take things one game at a time, play as hard as they can and hope for the best in return.
For manager Fredi Gonzalez, that means sticking with the hot hand. He must keep any player that is swinging the bat well in the lineup. Right now, surprisingly enough that player is Phil Gosselin. He is a rookie and it might not stir up a ton of fanfare to have him in the starting nine somewhere, but the fact is he is swinging the bat well and playing well. Its a great move by Gonzalez to keep him in there.
Gosselin can play the outfield as well. Don’t be surprised if he ends up playing in six different places over the next few weeks. For those who miss Martin Prado‘s presence with the Braves, Gosselin should be a sight for sore eyes.
It isn’t just him though. If Emilio Bonifacio gets hot, then he should be in there in place of B.J. Upton until he shows signs of hitting well. That isn’t likely to happen, but it remains a possibility. It isn’t necessary for Gonzalez to bench someone who is not playing well as long as he keeps the hot hand in the lineup somewhere. It will only take near perfection for them to make the postseason now.