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Apr 29, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Braves Marlins Live Thread: Anger and Hope!

Anger and Hope

I’ve been feeling under the weather, so watching the Atlanta Braves last night get taken to school by the Miami Marlins (imagine that, fish in a school?) certainly didn’t help to improve how I feel.  I’m still puny today as well, but feeling some better.  Because I was a little ill, I didn’t get my usual chance to interact with fellow Braves’ fans and discuss the game, tweet much, or do a live thread.  I don’t really know then what some of my compadres think, but I was angered last night by manager Fredi Gonzalez‘ decision to tweak the lineup to get as many left-handed bats in against Jose Fernandez as possible.

‘We have to figure out how to beat Fernandez.  Not everybody is Cy Young, and you still have to beat Cy Young every once in a while.” ~ Fredi Gonzalez
That philosophy is prevalent among many coaches these days, that it’s somehow always better to match left-righty, righty-left in hitter/pitcher situations.  As a former pitcher myself, and a long time coach, I cannot always agree with that philosophy.  I think you take that on a case-by-case situation and have to factor in the hitters with the pitcher.

Major League players are paid to learn to hit well against righties or lefties, and while any hitter may have a better chance to see the ball more clearly in righty/lefty situations, as last night, it certainly doesn’t guarantee offensive success.  I know, our regular lineup may not have fared any better against Fernandez, but I personally believe you want to have your best hitters in against an opposing team’s best pitcher, regardless of how they’re, well, handed!

Yes, I also heard that Fredi wanted to give some of the bench some playing time, and that’s all good, but for me it was the wrong time to do it, as game 1 often sets the tone for games 2 and 3.  Fredi Gonzalez said we have to figure out how to beat Fernandez, but I just think last night’s lineup was the wrong way to go about that uphill battle!

While Nathan Eovaldi is no Jose Fernandez, he’s pretty darn good as well, and sporting a nice 2.87 ERA.  He’s a righty as well, so does that mean Fredi will try to load the lineup with left-handed bats again!?  I know, you’re thinking I’m over-reacting, but amid all the talk from announcers last night about what a smart move it was against Fernandez, and then all of us seeing how it back-fired, I have to wonder if Fredi will make that mistake again.  I doubt it, and I certainly HOPE NOT!

Fernandez IS very good, but you have to trust your hitters, and I just don’t fall into the camp that believes you should do the sort of thing Gonzalez did last night against top-flight aces.  I know that Ramiro Pena and Ryan Doumit got hits coming off the bench, but that doesn’t justify sitting  Justin UptonB.J. UptonDan Uggla and Chris Johnson, even if B.J. and Dan have struggled some, and Johnson is beginning to struggle more.

Another hope I have is that Aaron Harang will come in and pitch like the 0.85 he’s surprisngly sporting right now.  Certainly even if Harang, as some believe, cannot sustain that kind of prowess, he certainly can fare no worse than Alex Wood did last night in giving up 7 runs on 10 hits in five innings pitched.  The Marlins have some underrated pop in their lineup to be sure, but that outing by Alex Wood was VERY un-Wood-like, for lack of a better phrase.

 

Game Details

When: 7:10 PM EST, Wednesday, April 30th

Where: Atlanta’s Turner Field, and TV’s SportSouth

Probables: Aaron Harang (3-1, 0.85 ERA) vs Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 2.87 ERA)

 

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Tags: Aaron Harang Atlanta Braves Fredi Gonzalez Live Thread

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