For all the (obviously justified) bellyaching about the Braves’ pen, Bethancourt’s defensive lapses were most unhelpful yesterday. In a season that, despite the bullpen woes, has brought more pleasant than unpleasant surprises Bethancourt’s defense, especially, has been a letdown. Billed as a wizard with the leather, he’s been anything but.
His offense has picked up a bit, yet he’s done nothing really well other than run fast when he’s reached base. The backstop of the future might well be someone we don’t know. I get the argument to let Chris B. play more. As a tweeter on the local organ scribe’s account observed, he’s 75 percent sure CB is not the catcher of the future, but 100 percent sure AJ’s not the COTF.
At the same time, Chris has gotten a fair bit of time and done very little to recommend himself. Pierzynski’s an old guy who has not hit much since April. But he appears to call a better game, and is clearly superior at pretty much every facet of actual catching. So while I get the calls for Bethancourt to play, I also understand why Fredi plays A.J. more. He wants to win. A.J. gives the Braves a better chance to win most nights. When you’re two games out, you don’t manage as if you’re 20 out just because you are supposed to be rebuilding.
In any case, the catching situation should shake itself out over the long season. Plus, as long as the bullpen blows virtually every lead, it doesn’t much matter who’s catching. And if the pen continues this way, we’ll be comfortably out of it soon enough and Bethancourt can then play a lot more, one presumes.
Tonight, the Bravos invade Citi Field to take on Jon Stewart’s favorite team and the portly Bart Colon. Amazing the way that guy pitches at 420 years old. He throws nothing but fastballs and is still generally effective. Wood toes ye olde slab for our side, and he’s been far better this season on the road.
One last thought about yesterday’s game. I was at work and didn’t watch it, though I listened to much of it. I saw highlights this morning. The pitch before Julio hit Kemp was up and in, and Kemp was clearly agitated. But the ball was damn near over the plate. He hangs over the inside corner, so anything 3 inches off the dish is going to hit him or send him sprawling.
Tonight’s lineup: Peterson, Maybin, Freeman, Markakis, Uribe, Pierzynski, Gomes, Simmons, Wood.
I guess Gomes is playing because he’s 8-for-24 against Colon.