Brooks Conrad: Please sit down
The Atlanta Braves just finished a series against the New York Mets in which they won two out of three. Sounds good for a team that has been struggling, right?
I’m more disgusted over this one than the other loses we’ve had this year. Today’s game should have been a for-sure win, but the Atlanta Braves found a way to lose it in every situation they had a chance in.
First off, second inning; why was Tommy Hanson attempting a squeeze bunt with two strikes? Tommy isn’t a good bunter. Flat-footed Hinske was on third. We had a lot of momentum. Martin Prado was on deck. Did I mention that Hanson had two strikes? Atlanta was down 2-1 at the time.
Can you guess what happened?
He tried to poke the ball. Again, He’s not a good bunter.
Hinske wasn’t even a third of the way to home plate!
So, if he did bunt it, there was a good chance that Hinske would have been out. Nonetheless, Hanson strikes out and Hinske is thrown out. End of inning.
Element of surprise went out when everyone screamed squeeze, so for those that think it was a good surprise move, they’re a little off their rockers. Was Fredi just bored? It seemed as if Hinske and Hanson were the ones surprised and unprepared.
I was baffled, but let’s move on.
In the sixth inning, Chipper pinch hit for the Braves. He came in for Freddie Freeman. A week ago, I would have been happy. Today, it was a stupid move. Freddie came into the game with an eight-game hitting streak. He hit a homer last night. He hit a RBI single in the second, the lone run batted in. There were runners on the corner with two outs.
Do you understand this logic?
Was there a new pitcher? Nope. Was Freeman hurt? Not from what I could tell.
Let’s carry on.
Meanwhile, Hanson is cruising. He finishes the fifth inning with this line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB , 9 Ks with 97 pitches thrown.
He is lifted for a pinch hitter: Nate McLouth.
He strikes out. (We all saw it coming.)
Why was Hanson taken out?
Yes, he had thrown 97 pitches, but we just played a double header yesterday during which our bullpen was exhausted. And to top it off, the Braves have a 10-game road trip coming up starting with the Dodgers. The bullpen is good, and they didn’t give up a run, but was it necessary to tax them a little more before a horrendous road trip?
Finally, after Jason Heyward shellacked one into center field to make the game 3-2, Chipper walks to lead off the inning.
K-Rod is throwing wild. He has been all year. He walks Chipper Jones. No outs. Alex Gonzalez comes up.
In any normal situation, you would think bunt. That’s what the Braves did, Gonzalez bunted. BUT, this game isn’t normal. We have bench players in. Matt Young is on deck. Coming up after him is Brooks Conrad.
Let Gonzalez hit.
I would take my chances with Gonzalez instead of Young and Conrad any day. Young has two hits on the year and punchless Conrad is well … punchless.
So, you can fill in what happened next. Young swings at everything (should have walked) and grounds out to second. Conrad looks like he’s a rookie in his first at-bat, shaking, and strikes out on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt. Conrad is now 0-for-6. Young has two hits in 13 at-bats.
Conrad hasn’t recovered since last year’s embarrassing play in the playoffs, and it’s obvious he needs some confidence. He can get that in the minors.
So, for the sake of giving everyone better sleep at night, please send down Conrad.
From the start of today’s game to the end of today’s game, it was ugly and scary. Yet, the Atlanta Braves only lost 3-2. Then again, it was the New York Mets.
Join me tonight for Fantasy Focus — get your lineup set for the week. Ask any questions you want. Or just talk baseball! 8:00 PM ET