What an ugly game that was! I am typically not critical of Fredi Gonzalez. After today’s game, I have to admit that he is to blame for the blow-out that ensued starting in the 6th inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds today. If you missed it, let me recap:
The Braves had a 2-1 lead heading into the 6th inning behind Derek Lowe‘s solid pitching and his solid hitting. He had a two-run double in the top of the 2nd inning to grab the lead. He was cruising through 5 innings. He ran into trouble in the 6th, which isn’t surprising considering the heat.
Lowe gave up a lead off double to start the inning to Jay Bruce. Drew Stubbs had a bunt single to advance the runner to third. Edgar Renteria doubled both runners home for a 3-2 lead. (Gonzalez should have taken Lowe out here, but the real problems came later). Joey Votto singled to put runners at the corners, still none out. Brandon Phillips doubled to score Renteria and end Lowe’s day.
Fredi relieved Lowe with George Sherrill who got a lefty and exited. Here is where Fredi went off track. He put Scott Proctor in the game. Proctor, amazingly, got out of the inning without allowing the runners to score. Braves were down 4-2. Not an ideal situation, but not too difficult to overcome.
Heading into the bottom of the 7th inning, Fredi sends Proctor back out. This was a move of sheer stupidity and a move that shows that he concedes potential wins.
Here is some interesting facts for your enjoyment or despair:
*Proctor has allowed runs in 8 of his last 13 appearances dating back to June 16.
*The Braves have lost games in July and Proctor has 2 of the losses and has pitched in 6 of the 7 losses.
*He has pitched in 7 games in July and given up runs in 5 of the 7 games
*He has given up more than 1 run in 4 of the 5 games which he has allowed a run in July
*He has an ERA of 15.25 in July
*In his last 5 games, Proctor has an ERA of 18.57
Proctor imploded in the 7th inning and the Reds scored 4 off of him and then continued to pummel Cristhian Martinez for three more runs. They totaled 7 runs in the 7th inning and put a close 4-2 game to a 11-2 blowout.
I don’t think that Gonzalez wants to lose. Sometimes, though, it seems like he manages the game in a way that makes me think he gives up on certain games.
I think the reason why is that he has three relievers that he trusts. If he can’t get Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel in the game, then he is more likely to concede a win to the other team.
Would Martinez have given up 7 runs in the 7th inning if he would have started it? Probably not. Would he have gotten out of the 7th without allowing a run if he would have started that inning? Who knows.
All I am saying, is that Gonzalez was not going to use Venters today anyway. He wanted to rest O’Flaherty and Kimbrel, I am sure too. That left Proctor, the proverbial punching bag, to run out there and get pummeled for the 4th time in 5 games.
Honestly, if I were Proctor, I would quit. Gonzalez did him no favors today. He escaped a big jam in the 6th. He does not have the stuff to pitch two solid innings any longer. I honestly wonder how much more of this Proctor can emotionally take.
This is probably Fredi G.’s words to his team: “Eh, We’ll get ‘em tomorrow. Let’s go give a helluva effort tomorrow guys.”