I’m not a big Fredi fan, but I think he takes more heat than he deserves. With this abominable bullpen, there’s only so much he can do. One thing he can do, however, is minimize their innings where it makes sense. Say, when your unquestioned ace has pitched seven quality innings with 90-95 pitches.
Not last night. Fredi pinch hit for Miller last night leading off the bottom of the 7th with a 3-1 lead and the worst pen in baseball. Granted, the pinch hitter, CJ, reached base and had Freeman jumped the ground ball by Uribe the Braves would’ve led at least 5-1 and would have won the game. However, that’s not what happened. And then after Nick Masset, shockingly, worked a scoreless 10th, what does Fredi do? Why, he summons Cody Martin, who’s been abysmal lately, to work the 11th.
Things predictably unraveled.
This pen is torpedoing the season. It’s not that the Braves figure to win the division. But with decent relief work, the Braves could be in first place now. It mightn’t last, but wouldn’t it be fun for now? Ah, well. Perhaps the pen is due to have a decent run. It’s not going to be good this year. We know that. Johnson is going to be a streaky 8th inning guy. Maybe Aardsma or some other retread can supplant JJ.
In any case, Folty goes to the hill tonight. The lineup: Peterson, Maybin, Freeman, Markakis, Uribe, Simmons, Gomes, Bethancourt, Folty.