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Notes: Braves have dynamic duo in left

Notes: Dynamic duo in left field

ATLANTA -- Even though Willie Harris has cooled off -- which seemed inevitable given his hot start -- Atlanta's platoon in left field is still going strong.

Since June 27, when Harris was batting .380, he has gone 5-for-32, dropping his average to .338. Matt Diaz, who starts in left against left-handed pitching, has been hot during the same stretch, going 14-for-31 with five multihit games, raising his average from .341 to .352.

Harris gives the Braves a spark from the leadoff spot, while Diaz adds some punch to the lower portion of the batting order. The only thing they don't give the lineup is power -- Harris and Diaz have combined for 26 extra-base hits, and neither have hit a home run since Harris hit his only one of the season on May 29.

Braves manager Bobby Cox said he won't consider breaking up the platoon, even though Diaz has shown an ability to hit right-handed pitching as well. Diaz has 27 hits in 76 at-bats against righties for a .355 average, five points higher than his average against southpaws.

"They're dynamite," Cox said. "I could never ask for anything more than what they're doing."

Next to 10,000? The Phillies became the first franchise to reach that threshold on Sunday night, when they lost to the Cardinals before a live television audience. The Braves, who started in the National League as the Boston Red Caps, sit at 9,681 losses entering play on Monday.

The Phillies' franchise has never left Philadelphia, starting in 1883 as the Quakers. The high loss total is more a product of their longevity than a tradition of losing, though their 8,810 wins put them at a .468 winning percentage.

"It's probably more that they've been around for a long time," Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "When teams have been around that long, you're going to have a lot of losses. I think it's funny that everybody is making a huge deal out of it, because I don't think it's that big of a deal."

The Braves have 9,662 franchise wins, rounding their winning percentage up to an even .500. If they continue to play at that pace, which seems unlikely given their recent success, they'll reach 10,000 losses during the 2011 season.

Atlanta is one of several teams "chasing" 10,000 losses. The Cubs, Pirates, Reds and Cardinals each have at least 9,100. The Braves' franchise has 13 100-loss seasons, but just three since 1935. The longest period of losing came from 1904-1912, when the Boston Beaneaters, Doves, Rustlers and Braves endured nine straight 90-loss seasons.

"I couldn't name you a player from back then," Francoeur said. "Maybe Honus Wagner, I don't even know if he was around then. That was a long time ago."

The only franchise to reach 10,000 wins is the Giants, who have 10,151. The Giants also have the fewest losses, 8,684, of any team that began play in the 19th century.

If the Phillies continue to play .468 ball, they'll reach 20,000 losses in 2124. The Arizona Diamondbacks, who have the fewest losses (774), are on pace to reach 10,000 in 2121. Even the Devil Rays, who have played at a .397 clip since entering the Major Leagues in 1998, won't reach 10,000 losses at that pace until 2100.

So what does 10,000 losses really mean?

"I don't think anything about it," Cox said. "Good for [the Phillies], they never left town or anything. They've been there for [124] years. It's a great franchise. Anybody who plays baseball as long as they have, they're going to have 10,000 losses, too."

Move coming: John Smoltz is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list to pitch on Wednesday afternoon, so that means a current member of the starting rotation will have to be bumped.

The obvious choice is Jo-Jo Reyes, who was promoted from Triple-A Richmond to take the spot vacated by Smoltz and make his Major League debut on July 7 against the Padres. But Kyle Davies, save for his last start, has struggled for more than a month, so he is also a candidate.

Cox said the Braves won't make a decision on whom to demote until Tuesday night, after Davies and Reyes have each had a chance to make their case to stay in the rotation. Davies was pulled on Monday after facing only five batters -- giving up two runs -- without recording an out.

"We haven't decided anything yet," Cox said.

Meanwhile, Reyes said that he won't be pitching on Tuesday as if his job is on the line.

"I can't think about that," Reyes said. "I just have to go out there and know what I have to do, and pitch as best I can."

Coming up: The Braves continue their three-game series with the Reds on Tuesday night at Turner Field. Reyes (0-0, 15.00 ERA) starts for Atlanta against Bronson Arroyo (3-10, 4-78). Game time is 7:35 p.m. ET.

Jeff Lutz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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