Maybe I am a pessimist. Maybe I am cynical. Maybe it is too close to the collapse that kept the Atlanta Braves out of the playoffs last season. Maybe our poor start to Spring Training made me a little nervous. Whatever you think may be going through my mind, today’s loss to the hapless New York Mets does nothing but increase my uneasiness.
I posted a Rant a couple days ago criticizing Fredi Gonzalez‘s decision to put Jose Constanza on the team. I have taken some heat for that article, primarily because of feeling that Luis Durango or Jordan Parraz would have been better and even “earned a spot” on the team. I understand the criticisms, I do. None of them are a perfect solution for the Braves. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this conversation. The issue that I had with Gonzalez including Constanza on the 25 man roster was realized on Opening Day.
In case you missed it, here is a recap:
In the top of the 6th inning, Fredi allows Matt Diaz to hit against right-handed reliever, Ramon Ramirez. Last season Diaz hit .227/.264/.286/.550 against right-handed relievers. He grounded out to end the inning with a runner at second base.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, after a walk and a hit, Fredi took out Tommy Hanson. He makes a double switch, putting Jose Constanza in left-field. No runs were scored.
In the top of the 7th inning, Tyler Pastornicky collected a one-out triple. Constanza came to bat and struck out. The Braves would strand Pastornicky at third.
This is all that I want to talk about, to be honest. This string of plays lost the game for the Braves, specifically the at bat of Constanza. He should have NEVER been in that place.
My biggest problem with having him on the Opening Day roster was realized today. This is precisely why he shouldn’t be on the team. Fredi Gonzalez has no concept of properly managing a team. This is why I do not like the signings of Livan Hernandez and Chad Durbin either.
What I find hilarious is this quote from David O’Brien of the AJC about what Fredi said when he announced the Opening Day roster:
Gonzalez said having Constanza would give him some speed off the bench and a potential pinch-hitter to lead off in, say, the seventh inning if he doesn’t want to use his top pinch-hitter Eric Hinske or Matt Diaz in that situation.
While the situation was not quite the same, the end result was: a loss because of stupid managerial decisions. Constanza IS NOT A PINCH-HITTER! You know it, I know it. Why is Fredi the ONLY person who does NOT know this?
Today’s formula was the same as last year: poor hitting, great pitching, horrible managing. Where will this put the Atlanta Braves at the end of the season? Watching meaningful games at home.