SIR THOMAS MORE:
I am commanded by the King to be brief, and since I am the King’s obedient subject, brief I will be.
This was sort of like a whole lot of other games that we’ve seen lately, so I won’t spend too long on the particulars. Julio Teheran was mostly excellent. He had a very good slider and a pretty good fastball — he occasionally missed up, and notably plunked Matt Kemp, but when he missed he missed out of the strike zone. He didn’t give up a single home run, which for him counts as serious progress.
Then he went out in the 8th inning and promptly gave up two singles and a walk before Fredi went out and got him. The next part took forever to watch and was excruciatingly painful. So here’s what happened:
• Dana Eveland, a lefty, came in. Justin Upton, a righty, came in to pinch hit. Christian Bethancourt completely whiffed on an inside pitch — it looked like Eveland missed his spot, but it was a passed ball and a run scored. Eveland proceded to walk Upton, loading the bases again. Fredi yanked him.
• Nick Masset, a righty, came in. He struck out the only man he faced. Fredi yanked him.
• Luis Avilan, a lefty, came in. He walked in a run. Fredi yanked him.
• David Aardsma, a righty, came in. He struck out the first man he faced. Then, as the next batter was taking a swing, Bethancourt reached his glove too far forward and the batter’s bat hit his glove — catcher’s interference, automatic base, everyone advances, a run scores, tie ballgame. Aardsma got the next guy out. That was the end of the 8th.
• At the beginning of the 9th, Fredi put in Grilli, who threw a clean frame.
Now, I am going to criticize some of the decisions that Fredi made, but before I do, I am going to speak generally to everyone on this board. Stop the personal attacks. I do not want to ban anyone: Mac was incredibly sparing with the banhammer, and I have no desire to use it more frequently than he did. But the threads are filling with personal attacks and it is exhausting for all of us. Stop.
In the 8th inning, Fredi used five pitchers to pitch to five batters, and altogether they allowed three runs. Two of the runs were partly attributable to poor defense by Bethancourt, and one was technically unearned, so while Teheran was charged with all four runs he still gets credit for a quality start. But the Braves entered the inning up 4-1, and they ended the inning with a tie game and with almost no one left in the bullpen. It was, to say the least, both an inefficient and an ineffective use of resources.
Obviously, the bullpen is wretched. But why pull Masset after he struck out the only batter he faced? Why pull Aardsma after he retired the only two batters he faced? (He didn’t actually retire the second one, who reached base via an error. But neither of them reached safely.)
And, most importantly: with a 4-1 lead in the 8th inning, with no one out and the bases loaded, especially considering that we have the worst bullpen in the league, why did Fredi use his worst five relievers before turning to Jason Grilli?