Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Please Fredi, stop using your worst relievers in close games

Fredi Gonzalez

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez throws batting practice before the start of a spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Let’s rank the Braves’ relievers in order from best to cannon fodder, shall we:

Craig Kimbrel
Jonny Venters
Eric O’Flaherty
Kris Medlen
Cristhian Martinez
Livan Hernandez
Chad Durbin

There’s nothing controversial there, right. One could argue about the order of the last two, but really, no one can possibly be that bored.

Now let’s look at the innings those seven guys have thrown during the Braves’ 0-4 skid to start the season:

Craig Kimbrel - 0
Jonny Venters - 1
Eric O’Flaherty - 1
Kris Medlen - 3
Cristhian Martinez - 2
Livan Hernandez - 3 2/3
Chad Durbin - 2

Isn’t there something wrong with that picture? Every game the Braves have played has been close at some point. They lost the first 1-0, the second 4-2 with Hernandez giving up a run in the seventh, the third 7-5 after a gallant comeback attempt in the seventh and eighth innings.

It was Monday night’s game that manager Fredi Gonzalez employed a particularly atrocious strategy. The top three relievers are all rested and ready to go, yet down 4-3 to the Astros after five, Gonzalez picked Hernandez, who gave up two runs in two innings. Durbin then came in during the eighth and gave up two more runs to finish any hopes of a late comeback.

And that’s just ridiculous. No, the Braves never did score again tonight, so looked at that way, Gonzalez didn’t cost them anything by going with his worst arms. Still, it’d be nice if he started playing to win one of these days.