The Atlanta Braves have proved inconsistent at the plate so far this month and having one of their best sluggers out of the lineup has hardly helped.
Dallas native Evan Gattis' status remains unknown once again for Saturday's matchup with the lowly Texas Rangers.Atlanta (75-72) has seen its playoff hopes dwindle during a 3-7 start to September in which it's batted .194 and averaged 2.6 runs. The Braves had eight hits in Friday's opener in Texas and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss.Robinson Chirinos singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth for the Rangers (55-92), losers in 11 of their previous 12 games and 12 of their prior 15 at home."We had some opportunities early on. It's hard to win games (scoring only) one run," manager Fredi Gonzalez told MLB's official website.Gattis, second on the Braves with 22 homers, sat out for the fourth consecutive contest because of strep throat, and Atlanta fell three games behind Pittsburgh for the NL's second wild card."(Gattis) is still symptomatic. He's going to see the doctor here and get a checkup," said Gonzalez, whose team had a combined 10 runs and 20 hits in the prior two games. "We're hoping at the very least he can DH or pinch-hit, but right now, he's still hurting."With Gattis potentially out again, the Braves might need a potent effort from Julio Teheran (13-11, 3.00 ERA) to get them back in the win column.The right-hander has lost his first two starts this month while receiving zero run support in each game. He allowed four runs -- three coming in the sixth inning -- in 5 1/3 innings in Sunday's 4-0 loss to Miami. He was 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his previous four starts."He's got to keep pitching the way he pitches and hopefully we can start swinging the bats," Gonzalez said.Teheran will make his first start against a Rangers team that's averaged 2.0 runs in its last 13 games. Texas has scored more than three runs only once in that stretch.Lisalverto Bonilla (0-0, 7.36) is hoping to see a little better support in his first major league start. The right-hander is starting in place of Scott Baker, who is dealing with tendinitis in his right triceps."I'm very proud to get to start a game," Bonilla said.Bonilla, one of two pitchers acquired from Philadelphia in the Michael Young trade in December 2012, has made two appearances since being called up to the majors for the first time Sept. 2.Atlanta's Freddie Freeman has reached base in 28 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the majors behind Hunter Pence's 29-gamer for San Francisco. Adrian Beltre has reached base safely in 27 consecutive contests for Texas and is batting .333 during a 13-game hit streak against Atlanta that dates back to August 2003.