Just moments before the Atlanta Braves kicked off a 2-game series with the New York Mets at Citi Field, the team announced a late lineup change that involved one of their most valuable players.
#Braves have scratched Justin Upton from tonight’s lineup with a left upper back strain. Evan Gattis will start in left
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) August 20, 2013
Kevin McAlpin (of 680 the Fan in Atlanta) was one of many to report the news of Upton’s late scratch, and the left-fielder was replaced by the versatile Evan Gattis in the outfield. Judging by the fact that Upton was originally in the lineup, this should be a short-term issue for the Braves, but you never want to see a top-tier player scratched at this late juncture.
Upton has been red-hot in recent days, posting a .312/.390/.560 slash line with 7 home runs in 123 plate appearances since the All-Star break. It has been a year of streaks for Upton, but overall, he has acquitted himself well to his new home in Atlanta by generating 3.1 in Fangraphs WAR while hitting 23 home runs.
With the Braves holding a staggering 16-game lead in the NL East (no, that’s not a misprint), this is likely just a blip on the radar, but we won’t know how serious the Upton injury is until the lineup emerges for Wednesday afternoon’s game in New York.