Let’s revisit Fredi’s decision Thursday to pinch hit for Shelby Miller with a runner on first and no outs. His rationale highlights one of my biggest problems with the Braves skipper.
“You don’t want to give outs away,” he said
Which begs the question, Why have you given away so many outs over the years?
We’re talking about a manager who routinely bunts with a runner on second, none out and a decent hitter at the plate. A manager who once had his pitcher bunt with one out, two strikes, the bases loaded and Martin Prado on deck. The same guy who, in the Wild Card game vs. the Cards, had Andrelton bunt in the 4th inning with one out, runners on the corners (slow-footed Freddie at 3rd) and Kris Medlen on deck.
Needless to say, those were ill-advised decisions. Having Shelby, who had thrown just 86 pitches, lay one down was not only defensible but the right thing to do, especially considering the options on the bench and in the ‘pen.
But you don’t want to give away outs.
Tonight the Braves will ask Williams Perez to salvage a road trip that’s gone predictably bad. It’s a lot to ask. Perez has overachieved thus far, giving up two runs, walking two and striking out 14 in two starts. He faces what is shaping up to be the best offense in the NL.
Six hitters in the Giants line-up are batting .294 or better. And that’s without Buster Posey, taking the night off.
Meanwhile, Braves bats have gone ice cold, which shouldn’t be a surprise when Juan Uribe is batting 5th and Todd Cunningham, 6th. And Tim Lincecum, pitching as well as he has in years, typically handcuffs the local nine. He’ll face:
Peterson, Maybin, Freddie, Markakis, Uribe, Cunningham, Simmons, Bethancourt, Perez