Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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05 Apr

Mets 1, Braves 0

Man, I’m afraid we’re going to see a lot of this this year. The Braves went up against an effective lefthander (Zombie Johan Santana) with a lineup that contained four lefthanded batters. Not that there’s much they can do about that. (Though I have been pushing for David Ross as Tommy Hanson‘s personal catcher, they could have tried that.) And sure enough, they were four-hit.

Since two of the hits were for extra bases, by fast runners, they could easily have gotten at least one run with a “productive out” anyway, but they’re really bad at that stuff, which is why Fredi keeps trying it. Matt Diaz doubled with one out in the fifth, and the Braves eventually loaded the bases with two-out walks to Tyler Pastornicky and Hanson (go figure) but they didn’t get the run home as Michael Bourn grounded out. They had another good chance in the sixth, two on with one out, and second and third, two out, but Diaz grounded out against a righty reliever despite several lefties on the bench, and then Fredi double-switched him out anyway. In the bottom of the inning, Mets Token Good Player David Wright singled in a run to make it 1-0, and Kris Medlen had to come in to get Hanson out of jam, which he did.

With one out in the seventh, Pastornicky’s first major league hit was a triple. But Jose Constanza and Bourn struck out against a LOOGY (I guess they could have hit Jack Wilson for Constanza, then moved Martin Prado to left) and that was that. They didn’t get another chance.

103 Responses to “Mets 1, Braves 0”

  1. 1
    John R. Says:

    Jay Howell post-game: “You gotta give the Mets some credit.” Ahhh, baseball…you’re back! You’re really back!

  2. 2
    JoeyT Says:

    I’m going to pretend that tomorrow is actually opening day.

  3. 3
    stupup74 Says:

    We could have kept Parraz or Sutton on the roster over Jose Costanza.

    Until Wren, and the purse string watchers decided that we another RH bat for the bench we are going to see alot of promising innings ended by LOOGYs.

  4. 4
    Mr.Swings@Everything Says:

    This may have been pointed out in the game thread, but it was stated by Sutton on the pregame that Chad Durbin can be expected to be used in a Scott Linebrink type role! I wonder if he even knows how bad that sounds?! We were only one lucky goal allowed away from a scorless draw so that’s something.

  5. 5
    csg Says:

    #2 – Tomorrow is an off day. How about saturday?

  6. 6
    jjschiller Says:

    @3-This exactly right and I don’t understand how it wasn’t considered when constructing the final 25 man roster. The ONLY spot you KNOW you’ll need a pinch hitter in is the 9 hole. Your leadoff man is left-handed, and you carry all left-handers on your bench? There’s going to be a lot of LOOGY’s used against our 9 and 1 hitters.

    Sure, technically Diaz is a bench player. But while Chipper is on the DL he’ll be in the lineup half the time, and not available to pinch hit. (I know Ross and Wilson are righties, but you know they will never be used to pinch hit.)

    While Chipper is out, it should have been imperative to carry a RH bench bat to replace Diaz. Sutton or Parraz should be on the roster instead of Constanza.

  7. 7
    Adam R Says:

    So, we can all agree the decision to leave Diaz in against a RHP is sheer Frediocy.

    I’m trying to see the Constanza double-switch from his perspective (and you’re right, Seat Painter, I can feel the brain cells dying). He’s trying to keep Medlen in the game for multiple innings, and taking a chance that the bottom of the order won’t rally, leaving Constanza batting third and our lineup vulnerable to getting LOOGY’d. Which is what happened. But it’s more of a gamble than it is an error — and as Mac and everyone else notes, Fredi doesn’t have great RH bench options anyway. We’re never going to use Ross in that situation, so might as well forget about it.

    I’ll take note that Venters was used when the Braves were down and how many pitches he threw in that inning, just in case.

  8. 8
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Clearly, this was revenge by the Baseball Gods for our shabby treatment of Yohan Flande. I think we should sacrifice a fatted bull to appease them.

  9. 9
    csg Says:

    @7 – Yes.

  10. 10
    Bethany Says:

    The fact is, it’s not Fredi’s fault that the team got 4 hits against one of the worst teams in baseball.

  11. 11
    Dan Says:

    I think we should sacrifice a fatted bull to appease them.

    Gonzalez?

  12. 12
    DougM66 Says:

    I agree with Bethany. It’s not Fredi’s fault that this is a woeful hitting team. There will be many low scoring, close losses this season. A question: Did Jason Heyward look as bad in actuality as he did on Gamecast? On the computer it looked as if he swung and missed at a bunch of low outside pitches. If the computer was accurate, it doesn’t bode well for him or for the team.

  13. 13
    Ethan Says:

    @10- No, but not pulling Diaz for a PH vs the righty, and having the 25th man hit in the most crucial point of the game is. If both of those situations were “managed” differently it could have easily been more than 4 hits

  14. 14
    csg Says:

    The 6 month nightmare seems to always have the same ending.

  15. 15
    spike Says:

    @13, and even if it didn’t work you would feel like you gave yourself the best chance to win. I think that is what annoys folks like myself. Bottom line is, if Heyward doesn’t hit it’s going to be a long year, and I wouldn’t hold Fredi responsible for that. It’s the seeming nonchalance about game situations that is infuriating.

  16. 16
    Jorge Says:

    The crazy thing was when they got Johan out in the fifth I thought they might do something against the middle relief.

    Nope.

  17. 17
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    The fact is, it’s not Fredi’s fault that the team got 4 hits against one of the worst teams in baseball.

    Notably, one of the worst teams in baseball started Johan Santana today. And cliche and annoying as it may be to hear, if Johan Santana is healthy he’s one of the better pitchers in the game.

  18. 18
    Jeremy Says:

    Just because the team only got 4 hits doesn’t make Fredi’s moronic decisions any less moronic.

  19. 19
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sam, I think you missed the part of the Serenity Prayer where we ask for the courage to blame Fredi for his own inaction.

  20. 20
    Marc Schneider Says:

    You have a poor hitting left-handed dominant lineup compounded by going against one of the best lefties in basebal although one who has not pitched in a long time and with a less than astute game manager. Not a good combination. It’s silly to panic after one game but if Heyward doesn’t hit this team is in a lot of trouble.

  21. 21
    csg Says:

    I wouldnt say that anyone is anything other than annoyed with watching the same type of game management that led to the 2nd largest collapse in baseball history.

  22. 22
    kc Says:

    Baseball is definitely back. Look at us, we are all ready to kill Fredi.

  23. 23
    ryan c Says:

    Jose Constanza batted with the tying run on 3rd base with less than 2 out. Any sane Brave fan should be upset.

  24. 24
    Tad Says:

    Same ole punchless Braves … and we do nothing in offseason to improve that !!!!

  25. 25
    jj3bagger Says:

    The artist formerly known as Luis Valdez on to pitch the 14th for the Indians, if anybody cares.

  26. 26
    sansho1 Says:

    I see how this is going to be.

  27. 27
    sansho1 Says:

    I know what this crowd needs — Petrino schadenfreude!

    http://www.ajc.com/sports/ark-coach-petrino-had-1408269.html

  28. 28
    Smitty Says:

    Guys, it’s April and we are already in late season form!

  29. 29
    Adam R Says:

    Coming from last season, it’s hard not to see this game as the Braves’ ultimate futility in microcosm. This team can’t win if prolonged struggles on offense are regularly exacerbated by bad managerial decisions. It’s relatively hard to change the former. It’s relatively easy to change the latter.

    And our margin of error was so small last year that, if we had corrected the latter, things could’ve been very different. That remains my feeling, but I acknowledge that it is just that, a feeling.

    Sam — and quite a few others on here, to be fair — have postulated that managers have a negligible impact on their teams’ records, and ya’ll have cited research to back it up. I don’t have the capacity to compare Fredi to his peers, but I can at the least keep a list of in-game decisions he makes and how we interpret the outcomes. We can see what it looks like at the end of the season.

    So far…I want to call it: 1 clear-cut instance of Frediocy (leaving Diaz in to face Ramirez), 1 quasi-defensible move (getting Medlen in to pitch multiple innings without having to lift him for a PH [via the double-switch], but thereby exposing Constanza/Bourn to a LOOGY), 1 potential long-run issue (bringing in Venters to throw 22 pitches in a losing effort).

  30. 30
    Bethany Says:

    @17 Johan only went 5.

  31. 31
    stupup74 Says:

    I agree with Bethany in some regards, i.e. Connie Mack would have a hard time winning when his team only got 4 hits.

    That said, it is known that this team is going to struggle to score runs all year. You have more than enough LH hitters, don’t keep Constanza over Paraz. Also, when given a chance, play the matchups after the 6th inning.

    I blame ownership and Wren more than I do Fredi, instead of going and getting a RH bat, we spend a mil and a half on Livan Hernandez and Chad Durbin.

    I know it is only day one, but after the collapse last year, lack of moves in the offseason, the 1-10 start in spring training, it is going to be hard to sit until Saturday night to flush this terd of an opening day game.

  32. 32
    jjschiller Says:

    To me, its all about the non-move with Diaz. You know that your whole bench is lefthanded, and here’s a spot to get a platoon advantage for one of them. And hell, you might force Collins to go to Byrdak an inning earlier than he did… And if he burns Byrdak in the 6th, then the 7th might go differently. You know your 9 spot is due up in 3 spots, too.

    When Diaz walked up and there was a righty on the mound, the Met’s had the advantage. If you send up Francisco or Hinske there, you either get an advantage now, or next inning, by being able to pinch hit a leftie in the 9 spot with Byrdak already burned.

    I admit that its picking nits… But at the same time, this is ALL a manager can do to influence the outcome of a game. All he can do is try to get himself a matchup. Make out the best lineup you can, nap til your guys knock the starter out, and try to get yourself platoon advantages at most important times. Fredi seems to fail at everything, except maybe the nap part, more often than he succeeds.

  33. 33
    Bethany Says:

    I should clarify that I don’t like the decisions Fredi made any more than the rest of you and his special brand of idiocy makes losses like this a million times more frustrating.

  34. 34
    krussell Says:

    The Braves’ are completely and inexplicably in love with Matt Diaz. Another year goes by and we again have one of the worst hitting outfields in baseball, and haven’t had a decent power hitter in LF since…Klesko? Gant? How long has it been?

    On a positive note, if you watch every game this year there’s a more than decent chance that you’ll get to witness a no-hitter.

  35. 35
    c. shorter Says:

    Hope they don’t face Chris Capuano again…

  36. 36
    ububba Says:

    If we PH a lefty for Diaz, they bring in Byrdak an inning early & he faces the PH & perhaps Heyward. It’s not that big a deal to let Diaz hit there. Instead of righty/righty, we were going to get lefty/lefty, with different match-ups later. (And Diaz is allowed to get a hit there.)

    That said, I wasn’t feeling the double-switch.

    But you know who’s a bigger schmuck than Fredi? Bobby Petrino, that’s who.

  37. 37
    joesteve Says:

    Fredi is Les Miles without Les’ luck. Dumb as a rock and completely oblivious.

  38. 38
    sansho1 Says:

    The double-switch paid one immediate dividend — Constanza made a play at the warning track with one out and a runner on second that I’m not sure Diaz makes.

  39. 39
    Johnny Says:

    I guess at this rate of Frediocy we’ll go 0-162.

  40. 40
    Chief They Won't Nocahoma Says:

    I’m downwardly revising my 75-87 prediction. ‘The Hitless Wonders, the Story of the 2012 Atlanta Braves’.

  41. 41
    MikeM Says:

    Even if this team had turn-of-the-century Chipper suiting up, the line-up would still be ________ bats short.

    I say two.

  42. 42
    Chief They Won't Nocahoma Says:

    Two to three.

  43. 43
    Marc Schneider Says:

    When the braves were behind late I almost felt it didn’t even matter if they came back and won. Even if Fredi was John McGraw, they can’t keep playing games like this day after day. The big problem is this team can’t hit. And they can’t keep blaming it on not having Chipper because he’s not going to be around much longer.

  44. 44
    Peter Says:

    Doooooooooooooooooomed

  45. 45
    Johnny Says:

    #39 was meant as sarcasm.

    I know Santana only went 5 innings but he the guy is a millionaire a hundred times over for a reason. Against the Mets bullpen? Dang. I didn’t get to watch the game so did Heyward have any decent contact? I agree with a lot of folks here that he may be the key to the season for the Braves.

  46. 46
    justhank Says:

    Why did McCann start against Santana?

    Fredi, his name is David Ross. He’s a really good defensive catcher and hits right-handed. Often, he hits right-handed very well.

    Did you learn NOTHING from last year?

  47. 47
    Mr.Swings@Everything Says:

    I would say it’s because he is our best player right now and you don’t generally rest your best player on opening day. I’d like to see Ross get some more AB, though.

  48. 48
    Adam R Says:

    McCann has had success against Johan, whereas Ross hasn’t in a small sample. Good point, though.

  49. 49
    Trace Says:

    Off topic but the news of Bobby Petrino and his joyride made me giggle like a little school girl.

  50. 50
    Nick Says:

    It’s Opening Day! We were not going to rest Brian McCann on Opening Day!

    There’re 162 of these, and we’re gonna win 70 of them even if we have an absolutely horrific year. You guys are gonna have to chill out. Unless, of course, you can dig up any more minorly sub-optimal moves that you’re just sure cost us the game.

    At most, 10 percent of what you guys think is beyond-the-pale, incontrovertibly stupid is actually kind of dumb. The other 90 percent is just a difference in strategy.

  51. 51
    c. shorter Says:

    47 – agreed.

    Quick question in which I’m not trying to sound defeatist. I’d like to understand more.

    I’ve often seen it suggested on here that there are X number of games that any given baseball team is going to lose because that’s how the sport works over a full season. When making that suggestion, does that subset include games the Braves will lose against lefties because of bad matchups? Or does that trend add to the set of games that a team will inevitably lose?

  52. 52
    Johnny Says:

    ‘Why did McCann start against Santana?’

    Becuase he is our best player? Are we running a platoon now? Has David Ross suddenly become McCann’s equal?

    ‘You guys are gonna have to chill out. Unless, of course, you can dig up any more minorly sub-optimal moves that you’re just sure cost us the game.’

    Nick, you don’t understand. Around here, if we lose its Fredi’s fault. If we win its despite Fredi’s poor managerial skills. I’m sure that the day we win 10 – 0 someone will say we should have won 11 – 0 because we should have brought Ross into to face the LOOGY.

  53. 53
    Stu Says:

    Player failure is a large part of the game; that’s why having the manager put the players in the best possible positions to succeed is important. Fredi failed to do that with Diaz and again with Constanza.

    Byrdak is their only lefty in the ‘pen. If Fredi were willing to use David Ross, it would be easy to outmaneuver Collins in any late-game pinch-hitting scenario.

    But Fredi is a dolt.

  54. 54
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    It’s Opening Day! We were not going to rest Brian McCann on Opening Day!

    Thank you, sir.

    For the record, McCann just missed a 2-run HR in the first, after Prado’s single. Duda tracked it down* at the wall. A little more barrel and the Braves get through before Santana settled into his rhythm for the first five.

    *If I lived in NYC I might buy Mets season tickets just to watch the crazy train that is Lucas Duda playing defense in RF.

  55. 55
    sansho1 Says:

    I look forward to further misadventures by the Mets OF, especially if Torres can’t go.

  56. 56
    PeteOrr Says:

    45 – Heyward’s 3rd at bat was a flyball to deep left field. He got under it a bit and it was in the air for a long long time. That’s my memory from 3AM DVR viewing anyway. No ground balls though. He will be fine, completely regardless of what took place in this one game though.

  57. 57
    Rob Cope Says:

    Fredi is a dolt but he wasn’t the GM that spent his offseason quietly. Yeah, Fredi is going to “coulda, woulda, shoulda” all season, but if the Braves had a LF, SS, and 3B, we wouldn’t be talking about pinch-hitting for Diaz. If the Braves keep getting blanked, it’s not gonna be Fredi’s fault.

  58. 58
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    When Chipper starts, the Braves will have a LF and a 3B, unless we’re assuming Prado is MRSA-Prado instead of 2009-2010 Prado.

  59. 59
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    And Tyler Pastornicky is one of the two players with an extra base hit yesterday.

  60. 60
    krussell Says:

    We have one of the worst corner OF tandems in either league. And our best hitter is a catcher who will only play 80% of the games at best and who will always wear down towards the end of the year. We gotta get more pop in LF and RF, and sitting on all this young pitching does absolutely no good if you can’t score. Front office clearly doesn’t care, so I’m not sure why we should.

  61. 61
    Rob Cope Says:

    And Rafael Belliard hit a home run once.

  62. 62
    Adam R Says:

    @57, Nobody disagrees that the offense is the team’s biggest problem, and that’s on Wren.

    But overhauling an entire offense is difficult. It’s hard for me to second-guess most of what Wren did or didn’t do this offseason.

    On the other hand, finding an NL manager who can actually manage competently so that we can make the most marginal of improvements that we would’ve needed to make the playoffs last year…that really should be easy.

    Honestly, I’m hoping both things happen. I have confidence that Wren will pull something off when the opportunity arises. When it happens, it’s going to be more Marco Scutaro than Troy Tulowitzki. But that’s OK. The Phillies are vulnerable and the Nats and Marlins may not be there yet. We’ve gotta do this now.

  63. 63
    jjschiller Says:

    @53 – Stu’s exactly right. In optimal conditions, they are going to fail 70% of the time. That doesn’t give you carte blanche to just do whatever doesn’t require you to pick up your pen.

    Use Francisco or Hinske for Diaz, maybe draw Byrdak out to face that PH plus Heyward. Then if they leave Byrdak in to start the next inning, send Ross up in the 9 spot to chase him out. If you chase him out, burn Ross and send the one of Francisco or Hinske you didn’t use last inning.

    One way or the other, you’ll get yourself at least one platoon advantage, possibly two.

    As it was, he let Collins dictate both of our highest leverage at bats in the game, and didn’t even force him to make a move to get those advantages. And this is completely beside the point that the two highest leverage ABs went to the 24th and 25th men on the roster.

    You’re losing! What are you saving players for? You can’t get to extra innings if you don’t score a run! Why are you keeping a good defensive player in at the expense of a better offensive player? You can’t protect a defecit!

    He just seems to have 3 or 4 moves in his pocket (if I gotta go get the starter, I can double switch Constanza in for defense!) has 3 or 4 rules he just won’t break (can’t pinch hit Ross, what if we go extras and Mac gets hurt?!) and sits and watches opposing managers maneuver around his lineup and doesn’t react.

  64. 64
    csg Says:

    Its kind of tough on the GM when he’s having to trade players just to stay under his operating payroll budget. However, he’s had a very difficult time putting together even an average OF group. We seem to keep adding LH hitters and below average defenders. Sitting still this offseason comes with a lot of risk.

  65. 65
    csg Says:

    Kudos to the Texas Rangers.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/rangers-unveil-shannon-cooper-stone-statue-021459642.html

  66. 66
    jjschiller Says:

    And I fully realize this dead horse is already beaten… But these small things in aggregate describe a manager who doesn’t appear to be equipped to handle the game at its highest level. He doesn’t appear to possess the faculty to anticipate what the other guy might do, and even after the other guy does it, doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening to him.

    I just don’t feel that these are small things anymore. He’s over matched and out classed.

  67. 67
    Adam R Says:

    @63, OK, I’m persuaded. Two Frediocies.

  68. 68
    Johnny Says:

    I am sure that Wren wanted very badly to upgrade the outfield. Putting Jurrjens and Prado out on the block isn’t sitting still. But if the offers you are getting are something like Adam Jones for Prado, Jurrjens AND one of Vizcaino, Teheran or Delgado (as I interpret the O’s demand for a premium pitching prospect) then you have to reassess. I think that Wren did the correct thing by keeping both of them. Whether it works out or not will play out over the season but at the time the decision was made knowing what they knew staying with the current core was the best move.

  69. 69
    DougM66 Says:

    @56. So, we’re back to complimenting Heyward for flying out rather than hitting a ground ball. It seems like we are in mid-season (2011 mid-season) form.

  70. 70
    Adam R Says:

    Speaking of the trades Wren didn’t make, Jed Lowrie’s on the DL. Can someone please pass the crow?

  71. 71
    MikeM Says:

    I guess the real issue to with the offense is the same on that has been systemic for some years now. When your best hitters are a catcher and 3B who are going to miss at minimum 80% of games each*, you are going to have trouble if your batting order isn’t deep with talent.

    Then there’s the trouble with the “traditional” offensive positions (corner OF, 1B). The Braves have the luxury of very nice hitters at often weak positions (2B, C), but that only translates to a real advantage if your power positions are above or at least average (FWIW Freeman was a slightly below average 1B last year).

    Having Uggla (who basically hits like power OF Jay Bruce) at 2nd is really just a wash if your LF hits like a 2B; maybe worse when you factor in the defense.

    Same thing was a problem when we had Chipper hitting like a beast, but Robert Fick or Kotchman at 1B.

  72. 72
    csg Says:

    Ive never understood why baseball has such an odd opening schedule. Whats the benefit of giving teams an off day after opening day. Not to mention sending two teams halfway around the world and then having them come back and play more spring training games.

  73. 73
    sansho1 Says:

    We weren’t losing in the top of the sixth — it was 0-0.

  74. 74
    Rusty S. Says:

    I would argue the 25th man is the stupid 12th pitcher, if you define it as the person who is the least likeliest to ever help win a ball game. The quality of the bench is only part of Fredi’s problem, the quantity of it being the other.

  75. 75
    RobBroad4th Says:

    @72, I’ve always assumed it was so all the opening games were staggered, giving them equal TV/Radio time and minimizing how many games were played at the same time, but I don’t think there were many games on cable yesterday.

  76. 76
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Jed Lowrie makes Rondell White look like Cal Ripken.

  77. 77
    RobBroad4th Says:

    We’ve won the opening game for the past few years now, right? And look how we’ve ended up at the end of 2009-2011. I think Fredi wanted to reverse the trend.

  78. 78
    csg Says:

    #75 – Dont most of the teams now have their own individual tv deals though? Like Peachtree for example. Seems like there are plenty of stations to broadcast these games. Its not an issue any other time during the regular season.

  79. 79
    cliff Says:

    The skip day is to allow for rain checks on a full house for opening day.

    It also allows LOTS of give for NOT carrying 12 pitchers. With as many good “upper minors” pitchers as the Braves have, until they are playing back to back days for extended periods, carrying 12 pitchers is dumb.

  80. 80
    Nick Says:

    Right, but refusing to pinch-hit with Ross falls into that 90 percent I was talking about. It’s not stupid, it’s just a difference in strategy. To use a really bad analogy, it’s essentially like paying for homeowner’s insurance. The likelihood is you’re wasting a lot of money, and there are utilitarians who refuse to buy insurance. You do it because if you don’t and your house catches on fire, you’re totally and completely screwed. That is how he sees it. And it’s not stupid, it’s just a different strategy than the one you employ. For the record, it’s a different strategy than the one I would employ, too. But he probably thinks it’s stupid that we think he should throw away his insurance policy on an at-bat in the middle of the game.

    But I don’t think any of that really applies here, because he made a double switch so that Medlen could pitch two innings. Incidentally, that part of the switch worked really well, and anybody calling him out for using Medlen or double switching so that he could go two innings is being absolutely ridiculous. It was a perfectly sound strategy, and what’s more it worked. So given that he was double switching, the person to take out of the lineup was clearly Diaz, as he’d batted last the previous inning. That means his choices were Constanza, Hinske and Francisco (moving Prado to left). All left-handed. I probably would’ve gone with Hinske given that we were behind, but Constanza made a good play in the half-inning previous to his at-bat that Hinske would not have and Prado probably would not have (unless he really improved his outfielding over the offseason), so we should note that if he’d put Hinske in, we probably would’ve been down by at least three runs rather than just one.

    Once he did pick Constanza, though, he’s not gonna pinch-hit for him in the next half inning. Fredi put him in with full knowledge that he was going to hit soon, if he had put Constanza in and then pinch-hit for him a half-inning later, you could argue that would’ve been stupid. He’s potentially wasting two players if he does that, and all Constanza had to do was put the ball in play, which he’s pretty decent at. Either way, the fault (assuming there is one) is with putting in Constanza rather than Hinske, not with refusing to pinch-hit with David Ross. It would have made little sense to pinch-hit with Ross there. You’re gonna take two bats off your bench (as Hinske would’ve had to come in after Ross hit to play left field, removing him from the possibility of pinch-hitting) every time you’ve got a lefty vs. lefty matchup? That’s wasting a lot of players, especially in a 1-0 game, when all Constanza had to do was put the ball in play.

    And you can complain all you want about Diaz not being pinch-hit for in the middle of a 0-0 game. Major League managers are not normally in the business of pulling starters early to midway through the game for matchup reasons unless it’s just an absolute 100 percent must-win game. And if he had used Hinske there, he either would’ve burned him in the double switch later or not been able to pitch Medlen two innings, which again, worked really well.

    The point is that nothing Fredi did yesterday was indefensible from a baseball perspective. They were just baseball moves, some work out and some don’t.

  81. 81
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    On the other hand, finding an NL manager who can actually manage competently so that we can make the most marginal of improvements that we would’ve needed to make the playoffs last year…that really should be easy.

    Okay.

    Name one.

  82. 82
    PeteOrr Says:

    @69 – The question was whether Heyward made any good contact yesterday. The answer was yes, followed by a justification for the answer. However, if you want to judge his rehabilitation a failure based purely on none of his 4 at-bats in the first game of the year falling for a hit, that’s your prerogative.

  83. 83
    jjschiller Says:

    @80- I absolutely would have hit for Constanza. We didn’t just need contact, we needed a fly ball. The infield was playing in, which they absolutely should have been.

    I would not criticize anyone for burning Constanza, ever, under any circumstances.

    And as far as not hitting for Diaz… Diaz is a platoon player. Once you’re into the pen, his value is greatly diminished. He won’t face another lefty again in that game.

  84. 84
    jjschiller Says:

    I mean, its not like I’m complaining that he didn’t hit for bourn or prado.. Diaz is a platoon player, starting because of the starters handedness. Once youre into the pen, you might aswell go to his platoon partner, because he won’t see another lefty.

  85. 85
    sansho1 Says:

    @80

    Philosophically, I agree with much of what you say. But the leverage of the particular situation (two runners in scoring position, tie game), as well as how poor the Mets’ remaining matchup options would have become after burning Byrdak that early (which they would have had to do), puts me on the side of pinch-hitting for Diaz. That said, I have a limited wellspring of outrage, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to use it up on that maneuver.

  86. 86
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    On the other hand, finding an NL manager who can actually manage competently so that we can make the most marginal of improvements that we would’ve needed to make the playoffs last year…that really should be easy.

    Crickets?

  87. 87
    Adam R Says:

    @80, But why is Medlen pitching two innings the priority here? Shouldn’t it be inserting the batters who’d give us the best chance to tie the game or take the lead?

    I still think jjschiller’s right. Fredi put in the best defensive arrangement — our best defensive OF and our best long reliever — as thought we had a lead to defend. Problem is, we didn’t.

    @81, Sorry, not gonna fall into this trap. Here’s why.

    People who are *not* professional managers are regularly pointing out Fredi’s errors in real time. I’m keeping track of it this season, and we’ll see how Fredi stacks up in the fall.

    It stands to reason that if people on here can do it, there’s gotta be someone — certainly 30 someones — who can combine a basic understanding of the rules of the game with the other qualities one would need to be a successful manager. If, for whatever reason, the job of being an in-game strategist couldn’t be combined with the job of running an efficient, welcoming clubhouse, etc., then it should be that two people do the two separate jobs. I don’t see why one person couldn’t do it, though. It’d be like saying that someone who’s good at chess couldn’t possibly be someone who works well with other people. Which is suspiciously similar to the baseball culture war we’re more or less emerging from, with the chess players having won.

    I want to liken your position — which appears to be “If organizations are not already demanding strategic acumen of managers, it must be not be worth doing” — to the way some thought about implementing SABR principles in front office decisions before people actually started to do it. I’m pretty sure, at some point in the past, someone complained that there has to be an owner that gets the value of a front office that understands this stuff — and someone else probably said, “Name one office that’s doing it. You can’t. Therefore, it must not be worth it.” It’s practically a tautology.

    The reason I make this analogy is that I suspect there’s the same sort of ingrained baseball culture type of thing at work here. “Nerds” — aka good strategic thinkers — are now allowed in front offices, but perhaps not yet in dugouts. Not that that’s your reasoning in particular, Sam, but there it is.

    I respect that you have research to back up what you’re saying about managers’ impact on games, generally. I think it could be the case that Fredi is an outlier, someone who makes more in-game strategic mistakes than the typical manager and is actually below replacement level, so to speak. I’m not wedded to it. It’s a hypothesis at this point. But I think it’s worth exploring. So I’m starting to keep track.

    If you think Fredi didn’t screw up on Opening Day, let me know, and I’ll take into account where people disagree.

  88. 88
    Dan Says:

    There’s always going to be the “fire the manager!” crowd. There is no current, veteran MLB manager whom you can go to Google and type in “fire [his name]” and not find any results. A segment of a team’s fans will perpetually blame the manager.

  89. 89
    jjschiller Says:

    Managers that I know I’d want more than Fredi: Maddon, Black, Scoscia, Roenicke. Probably Sveum, and despite his age Davy Johnson.

  90. 90
    urlhix Says:

    The Braves don’t want a “Manager”, per se, they want an organizational man first. A guy like Bobby was. Fredi is that kind of guy, from what I can tell.

  91. 91
    krussell Says:

    It doesn’t matter who the manager is when you have a lineup that can’t hit. BTW, how long do we have to wait until Bourn becomes the spark at the top of the order that we thought we were getting? I know we’ve only seen about a third of a season from him, but so far I’m not impressed.

    Uggla and McCann and Freeman won’t get many pitches to hit this year, because the rest of the team is feeble. Especially if Chipper only plays about 40 games. I think/hope that Wren will pull the trigger eventually on a deal to get more offense, but they may be waiting to see how competitive we are for the first half before the decision is made. The good thing here for us is that the Phillies also are going to struggle to score until their stars get healthy.

  92. 92
    DowneasterJC Says:

    @86

    Me.

  93. 93
    Adam M Says:

    @87. It’s not even practically a tautology. It simply is one.

  94. 94
    sansho1 Says:

    @87

    I’m interested in what you’ll find. But if you’ve settled on a conclusion, I’ll have to question your rigor. If you only count “mistakes”, there’s no doubt you’ll find enough to hang him with. Will you credit good moves? What is your control group? Are you a judge or an advocate?

  95. 95
    Adam R Says:

    @94, I’m definitely not settled, and I plan on counting good and seemingly neutral moves too. For now, I’m just taking note of his use of Venters, for example. It’s truly amazing how he treated the game like we were winning, when you think about it.

    I wanted to dig back through here to find Sam’s link to the study on the manager’s effect on a team’s season. I’m hoping there’s some kind of control in there to measure Fredi against because I certainly don’t have the capacity to stand him up against all his current peers. I never really paid attention before to how the degree of leverage is quantified from play to play, so I guess I’ll have to start doing that too…that way, maybe we can assign some value to the outcomes of his decisions.

    For now, it’s just collecting data, and hoping that discussion and debate on here will yield lots of different interpretations of his decisions.

  96. 96
    braves14 Says:

    Off-days suck.

  97. 97
    sansho1 Says:

    I guess I don’t find it all that amazing that facing the top of the Mets’ lineup in a one-run game was treated as a high-leverage situation.

  98. 98
    ryan c Says:

    My lineup guess for today…
    1. Bourn
    2. Prado
    3. McCann
    4. Uggla
    5. Freeman
    6. Heyward
    7. Francisco
    8. Pastornicky

  99. 99
    Seat Painter Says:

    OK, Over/Under until we see Phil Collins for the first time?

    I say April 27th.

  100. 100
    Mac Thomason Says:

    As for the manager thing, Davey Johnson and Bobby Valentine, among others, were available a year and a half ago when Fredi was hired. They weren’t considered. Nobody was considered, much less interviewed, they just decided to hire Fredi. It’s bad business practice and another indication that upper management doesn’t care.

  101. 101
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Oh, great. The one thing Jurrjens CAN’T do is start giving up lots of homers. Not giving up homers is the core of his success.

  102. 102
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Well, we had another lefty we could use, but we demoted him before the season started to get Chad Durbin.

  103. 103
    One Eye Says:

    Kelly Johnson goes deep to give the Blue Jays the lead in the 9th.

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