Sorry for the lack of an open thread today. Didn’t get to watch the game, either, and I’m grateful.
Judging by Mark Bradley’s account of the Bravos’ sixth loss in seven games, Fredi was in fine form.
But then they came to the game’s final out, when Gonzalez thought too far ahead.
The right-handed Matt Diaz, who was hitting .120 against righties, was allowed to bat against Orioles closer Jim Johnson. With left-handed hitters Brian McCann and Eric Hinske available, why not deploy one? Gonzalez’s reasoning: He planned to pinch-hit McCann for David Ross if both Diaz and Heyward reached, and if Hinske had been used in Diaz’s slot there was a chance the pitcher’s spot could roll around with the tying run at third and nobody to hit except Tim Hudson, who’s a pitcher.
The counterpoint: If Diaz makes an out, all points are moot. And it should be noted that Gonzalez had sacrificed the left-handed Juan Francisco in the eighth not because Jack Wilson is a better hitter — Wilson isn’t a better hitter than many people in the big leagues — but because he hits right-handed and the O’s had just summoned lefty Troy Patton. (Wilson popped to first.)
The evidence mounts.