10/6/2013 8:03 P.M. ET
Braves relaxed, implementing solid approach at plate
By Mark Bowman, Quinn Roberts and AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- After committing a couple of costly mistakes in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday night, Braves rookie Evan Gattis received some simple, yet sound advice from Gerald Laird, who is bidding to participate in his third consecutive World Series.
"I told him, 'You've already [messed] up enough, it can't get any worse, so just relax and play the game,'" Laird said.
During Thursday night's Game 1 loss to the Dodgers, the Braves seemed to be victimized by the lack of postseason experience possessed by many of their regulars. Gattis misplayed a two-out liner in left field and then got doubled off first base on a fly ball to right field less than 10 minutes later.
Jason Heyward allowed adrenaline to get the best of him when he missed the cutoff man while trying to prevent Yasiel Puig from scoring on a sacrifice fly. These mistakes added to the already great challenge Clayton Kershaw provided with his seven solid innings.
But while evening this best-of-five series with Friday night's 4-3 win, the Braves appeared to be much more relaxed. Andrelton Simmons broke the tension with a two-out RBI double in the second inning, and Mike Minor never blinked while allowing just one run, despite surrendering eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Atlanta hitting coach Greg Walker was happy with the approach his guys had against Kershaw and further pleased with the results that were realized as the Braves scored each of their four runs on Friday with two-out hits recorded by Heyward, Chris Johnson and Simmons.
While Heyward had the opportunity to play in the 2010 NLDS, Johnson and Simmons are still getting used to the October scene. Both entered Sunday night's Game 3 with fewer than 12 postseason plate appearances during their career.
"The focus level gets so good because the adrenaline and energy is so high," Walker said. "It's just a different ballgame than the regular season. You look to see if guys panic to see if the moment is too big for them. I haven't seen any of that yet."
Fredi: Everybody available in Game 5
LOS ANGELES -- Fredi Gonzalez generally isn't one to speculate or play hypotheticals. But the Braves' manager knows how do-or-die games work, and should Atlanta's National League Division Series against Los Angeles reach a decisive fifth game, it will be all hands on deck.
"Everybody in Game 5 is available," Gonzalez said of his pitching staff. "We could even bring [Game 3 starter Julio] Teheran back for an inning or two, or whatever unfolds."
Teheran will be available, and so too will Game 2 starter Mike Minor, who would likely be the option if the Braves had to dip into their bullpen early.
Gonzalez remains adamant that Freddy Garcia will start Game 4, meaning he plans to use Kris Medlen in Game 5, even though Minor would be on regular rest. Medlen starting Game 4 on three days' rest appears out of the question.
"I don't think it would be a good decision to bring them back short on a day, our guys," Gonzalez said. "So that's one of the factors in the decision making process."
Gattis in left as Braves stick with offense in outfield
LOS ANGELES -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez stayed firm in his stance Sunday to keep an offensively minded outfield for Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers.
He penciled Evan Gattis into left field instead of B.J. Upton or Jordan Schafer. That is the same decision he's gone with for the first two games of the series.
"I think that Gattis, you know he's going to get four at‑bats," Gonzalez said. "You don't know if he's going to get the ball hit to him in the first seven innings. So that's the theory that we go with him in the outfield."
Despite making just 91 starts (105 total games) during the regular season, the converted catcher led all Major League rookies in RBIs (65) and ranked second in home runs (21).
Meanwhile, Upton struggled heavily at the plate during the regular season, hitting just .184 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 126 games played.
Gattis had defensive troubles in the outfield during Game 1 of the series. In the second inning, he was unable to run down a catchable two-out RBI double by A.J. Ellis.
Upton replaced Gattis in left field during the final two innings of Friday's game.
"We could play the best offensive outfield early in the game, and then we have the capability of improving defensively with B.J. or Schafer, depending on which way we want to go," Gonzalez said.
Mark Bowman and Quinn Roberts are reporters for MLB.com. AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.