The Braves look to build on their highest-scoring game in three weeks as they close a three-game home series against the Reds, who hope to avoid matching a season high with their fifth straight defeat.
Cincinnati (12-19) averaged 4.8 runs per game in 2007, but has managed only 4.0 thus far under first-year manager Dusty Baker. Baker tried to shake things up on Saturday, shuffling the lineup by moving Ken Griffey Jr. to the No. 2 spot in the batting order for the first time since May 3, 2005.
“I’m not crazy about changing the lineup,” Baker said before the game. “I’m trying to find something that will work for a long period of time.”
After the Reds managed only four hits while getting routed 9-1, Baker realized more changes might be in order.
“You juggle, you still get the same amount,” he told the Reds’ official Web site. “We have to score some runs.”
Baker’s club has totaled five runs while batting .154 during its four-game losing streak, and is in danger of matching its season-high five-game skid, set April 11-16.
The Braves (14-15) were in a similar rut before Saturday’s outburst - the first time in six games they scored more than three runs. It was their highest run total since they had 10 in a win at Washington on April 12.
Mark Teixeira’s recent performance bodes well for Atlanta. The first baseman had been batting .196 through 13 games, but is hitting .333 in 16 games since then. He drew a bases-loaded walk after falling behind 0-2 on Saturday, driving in the first run in Atlanta’s six-run seventh inning.
“That’s why he’s one of the premier hitters in the game. He can do that,” Braves catcher Brian McCann told the team’s official Web site of Teixeira, who also had two hits. “Not many hitters can do that, lay off pitches like that. He’s got such a great eye. That’s why he is who he is.”
The Braves hope to continue to hit for Sunday’s starter Tom Glavine (0-1, 2.60 ERA), who’s still looking for his first win since returning to the team in the offseason after five years with the New York Mets.
In his first start following his first career stint on the disabled list, the 42-year-old left-hander held Washington to two runs and six hits in six innings on Tuesday, but got only two runs of support as Atlanta fell 6-3.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got out there. I’ve never had a layoff that long,” said Glavine, who reported no problems with his strained hamstring. “I’m wondering if I am ever going to win a game.”
Glavine is 27-12 with a 3.34 ERA in 48 career starts against the Reds, including 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his last three games against them.
The Reds will send Bronson Arroyo (1-3, 6.97) to the mound, hoping the right-hander can build on his first win in nine starts dating to last September. The right-hander allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3 win at St. Louis on Monday.
Arroyo is 4-1 with a 4.40 ERA in nine career games - eight starts - against the Braves.