With Rodriguez active for the first time after missing more than half the season recovering from shoulder surgery, the Braves have options and Snitker plans to play the lineup that he thinks gives the team its best chance to win. With those options, they also have their sights set on a potential postseason berth.
The Braves swept the Diamondbacks in the first three games after the All-Star break to get their record to .500 (including 18-10 since June 12) and were tied with Houston for best record in the majors over that span before Monday. If Snitker and the Braves were ever content to keep running a slumping rookie out there every day for the sake of his long-term development rather than the team’s immediate success, they aren’t now.
Swanson was 5-for-40 (.125) in his past 14 games before Monday with three doubles, three RBIs, six walks, 16 strikeouts, a .125 OBP and .200 slugging percentage. He had three doubles and three RBIs in a two-game stretch June 30-July 1 at Oakland. In nine games since then, he was 2-for-25 with nine strikeouts and no RBIs.
He has been particularly vulnerable to the slider all season, with pitchers who utilize that pitch putting Swanson away after getting ahead in count.
“Pitching coaches in the league, they get video on you,” Snitker said. “You have to adjust and adapt.”
Swanson’s season has been basically comprised of two long rough stretches separated by one month of good hitting.
The Marietta native and former No. 1 overall draft pick hit .169 with a .250 OBP, .479 OPS and nine RBIs in his first 32 games through May 13. Then he heated up and started hitting like he did a year ago, batting .286 with a .364 OBP, .849 OPS and 20 RBIs in a 31-game stretch from May 14 through June 13.
But just as quickly as he warmed at the plate, he cooled off, batting .207 with a .278 OBP, .522 OPS and six RBIs in his past 25 games before Monday.