Atlanta Braves: More of the Same Insanity

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.

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  • Chief Locked Heart

    Don’t worry, Chad, your detractors will join us just as soon as Chipper returns and Fredi decides to keep Constanza around instead of Francisco.

    They won’t start thinking 4 games worth of exhibition at-bats matter, that’d be asinine. No, they’ll join us in the fear is all.

    I had what would likely be an unpopular thought. If our options for 6th OF (okay, with Chipper out maybe Prado only counts as half an OF, so it’s 5 1/2) are all guys who should never get an AB…ever…then maybe we should take a different look at our lineup and, noting that David Ross is our second best hitter off the bench, and best righty, maybe our 25th man should have been someone who can play emergency catcher…just until Chipper gets back at least.

    Either way, having Constanza hit at all is awful…having him hit on opening day when we have yet to sustain an injury is indefensible…and having him hit with a man on third and one out when down by a run is a nightmare. Add in that he was facing a LOOGY and I think I would rather Fredi had just let Medlen hit in that hole.

    • Liberty Media Sux

      Watching that game was like reliving a nightmare.

      Gonzalez is a pathetic manager. He shouldve pulled Constanza and put in Hinske. Only the game was on the line!

      In the end its Liberty Media and MLB’s fault. From a purely business standpoint it isnt wise to have penny pinching Home Shopping pos’s running a team in one of the better markets. Having a Braves team that cannot compete financially doesnt just affect Brave’s fans.

      Chipper Jones is also part of the problem. When he received that ridiculous contract he stated in the AJC that he wouldnt be an albatross around our teams neck.

      I would rather have an albatross then an old guy who takes over 12% of the entire Braves team salary and sits it on the bench. At least the albatross could fly in front of a line drive and take one for the team. The albatross doesnt pick and choose which games he plays in solely to protect a lifetime batting average that is hovering near .300

      Dont blame the management. They have little or nothing to do about companies that buy teams as a tax ride off, or infielders whose wife wants that extra 14 million.

      Just pray Chipper’s wife doesnt convince him to take that option for 2013. I know its only 9 million but that 10%+ of our team salary would buy a room full of shoes and designer hand bags.

      Go Braves!

      • http://www.tomahawktalk.com Chad

        There is no doubt that this season will be the last for Chipper.

        What I am uncertain of is how a rant about Fredi’s incompetence grew to criticism of Chipper. Can you answer that for me?

    • http://www.tomahawktalk.com Chad

      No arguments from me, Lockey.

      • Liberty Media is shameful

        Our team is woefully lacking in offensive power. IMO Chipper Jones has been part of that problem during the last two seasons. Yes his numbers didnt stink, but near the end of the season he constantly gets hurt. He certainly wasnt effective in our playoff burnout last season or the our loss to San Francisco the year before.

        Fredi’s incompetence and an impotent offense makes it hard to watch my favorite team play.

        It certainly isnt all Chippers fault. If we got to spend around 120 to 140 million a year we could afford to carry his contract. That’s why the Yankee’s are team of aging millionaires.

        Hopefully he will bounce back from his latest injury and contribute to our teams pathetic excuse for an offense.

        • Chief Locked Heart

          Derek Lowe and Nate McLouth combined to make about $21M last season. Contracts like that aren’t acceptable to the Braves anymore, now that we’re run more like a mid market team. Chipper’s deal isn’t really a mismanagement, though. It is the nature of baseball, and the control the players are under during their prime seasons, that often a team is having to pay a player for what he has done rather than what he will do this current season, but Chipper Jones was still our most valuable player last season.

          When you miss the playoffs and your most valuable player isn’t on the Albert Pujols level (or even if he is but he’s ARod for some odd reason), it’s easy to start resenting him for not being more. Chipper is far from an albatross, though, but if we’re going to win he’s either going to have to return to his previous greatness (Willie Stargell playing a decent 3B), or we’re going to need 3 or 4 guys to step up and be in the conversation with him as best player.

  • Rod

    Yep,

    Same as last year. Man on third one, one out in a tight game. What’s wrong with trying to bunt him home. Tyler is supposed to be fast. Poor, poor managment once again. It just seems like FG does not know the basics of baseball. He did that all last season in one run games. I agree, he totally sucks as a manager.

    • http://www.tomahawktalk.com Chad

      Bunting and Defense are the only things that Constanza is good at. Fredi disagrees.

  • http://pearlsofwit2.wordpress.com Scotty Duttuno

    man that games sucked and im still all ragin about it and red in the face and stuff but i hope we beat the muts today so i can get over it hehe but still chipper jonz seems expensve now because they went all cheap on the roster lately after ted turner stoppd paying fo rthe team and started selling buffalo meat or something i guess but still for what he is chipper is still good and not too pricey compared to other deals and someone showed the otther day that he was better than zimmman and write last season whtich surprised me but still not much because chipper is good especially on this team where everywon seems to swing at the first pitch even if the pitcher hasnt htrown a strike in like 6 pitches like stantana the other day man that pisses me off

    go jair and go braves and actually get a hit heyward so peoploe will cut you some slack lol