Last night Braves fans observed managing at its worst.
Uggla got the start, Fredi said, because a lefty was starting. Then why not start Gattis, who, unlike Uggla, actually hits southpaws? Gattis sat out Friday, so it wasn’t a matter of him needing rest.
With 2 outs and 2 on in the bottom of the 6th, Fredi left Laird, batting .200 with zero RBI, in to face lefty Tyler Lyons. Not surprisingly, he struck out. Again in the 8th, Laird would come up with two on, this time facing right-hander Pat Neshek. Not surprisingly, Fredi called for a squeeze. It failed miserably, and the Braves missed out on a chance to pad their one-run lead. Gattis and Ramiro Pena watched from the bench.
They could’ve used them in the bottom of the 7th, when B.J. led off with a double. But Fredi stuck with Uggla, even though the Cards had brought in a righty, Seth Maness. Uggla couldn’t even move B.J. to third. Pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit, continuing his Greg Norton circa 2009 impression, followed with a strikeout. Again, there were better options available, but Fredi chose not to utilize them.
Fortunately, Gattis and Pena are starting tonight against former Braves farmhand Adam Wainwright. The passing of time only makes the trade that sent the former first round pick to the Cards look worse. Wainwright has 104 wins with the Cards against 59 losses. His lifetime 3.08 ERA and 1.175 WHIP are well above the league average and he’s been even better in the postseason, with a 2.53 ERA, 0.990 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 IP in 67-2/3 innings. Wainwright has twice been the runner-up in Cy Young Award voting and finished third another season while throwing 230 or more innings three times.
In return for a true ace the Braves got one season of J.D. Drew, who they never had a shot at re-signing. Imagine if FW shipped Lucas Sims to Toronto for Colby Rasmus, who’ll be a free agent after this season. Sims may not be the prospect Wainwright was, and Rasmus isn’t as talented as Drew, but you get the point.
The Braves have never made a worse trade.
1. Heyward RF 2. JUpton LF 3. Freeman 1B 4. Gattis C 5. Johnson 3B 6. BUpton CF 7. Simmons SS 8. Minor P 9. Pena 2B