Yankees 6, Braves 4

New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – June 12, 2012 – ESPN.

Well, Mike Minor outpitched CC Sabathia, and the Braves led most of the way, but a bullpen collapse in the eighth inning handed the game to the Yankees. The Braves simply don’t have the Jonny Venters of the last two years anymore.

With the bases loaded and one out in the first, Matt Diaz, starting in right field against the lefty, hit a bases-clearing double, scoring Michael Bourn, Brian McCann, and Dan Uggla. For a long time, it seemed that this would hold up, as Minor, after a little first-inning trouble, kept the Yankees in check for seven innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Jason Heyward‘s bases-loaded groundout scored Martin Prado to make it 4-0. It turned out to be a key play, as the Braves’ inability to get more than one run out of that situation kept the Yankees in it.

In the eighth, Minor got the first man, then allowed a single to Derek Jeter. It came on his 100th pitch of the game, and Fredi came and got him, going with Venters. Jonny had nothing. A single was followed by a walk to load the bases, then Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a grand slam. After allowing another hit, Venters was finally pulled, only for Cory Gearrin to allow a two-run homer to Nick Swisher to give the Yankees the lead. Gearrin hit Andruw Jones with a pitch but eventually got two outs. The Braves got one baserunner, on an Andrelton Simmons walk, in the eighth, but that was it.

182 thoughts on “Yankees 6, Braves 4”

  1. A small note about tack-on runs: An Uggla baserunning blunder probably cost the Braves another run.

    In the 3rd inning, Uggla hit a one-out double, but was cut down when he tried to advance to third on a Diaz grounder to Jeter. Chipper followed with a single.

  2. I guess I’m in the minority here. I really see nothing to call Fredi to the mat on for yesterday’s game. Venters is your guy and though he’s not performed this year like he has in the past two years, you trust him to do his job. Could you have done some things differently? Sure, but it’s easy to take a bad result and say a different choice would’ve yielded better results. Venters faced 4 batters and got none of them out so the blame lies with the player if you ask me.

  3. #2 – Sure, I agree. However, the Yanks shouldve never had a look at Venters the day before.

  4. It’s not an either/or proposition. Venters needs to get his act together. And Fredi shouldn’t have let him pitch to A-Rod. That’s what Kimbrel is obviously here to do: to make even their badass hitters strike out. He should’ve been told to warm up with two on.

  5. Kimbrel shouldve been warming up as soon as Venters came into the game. Not really sure why two guys arent ready that late in the game.

  6. It’s not an either/or proposition.

    A-freaking-men. Once again, no one is excusing Venters’ crappy performance. But player failure is a part of the game, and the manager’s job is to manage that failure to the least possible detriment to the team. Leaving Venters in to face A-Rod was just indefensible strategy.

  7. The Venters-to-ARod decision was bad, but the real travesty was Gearrin-to-Swisher. Gearrin SUCKS against lefties, and Swisher has been much better as a lefty. No EOF makes things tougher, but the Lisp is really good against lefties with his nasty changeup.

  8. I fault Fredi for a few things in that inning. Number one, if you have that short of a leash on Minor, take him out before the inning and let Venters start fresh. That may sound small, but I hate this idea of sticking with a starter until he gives up a baserunner. If you are sticking with Minor to open the inning, don’t let one baserunner with one out change your mind. I can see going with Venters, but if someone has struggled as much as Venters has, shouldn’t he be the one with the short leash? In addition, this is why you don’t use Durbin the past two games in losing efforts. Finally, you go with Gearrin, who threw 32 pitches over 2 innings and sucked last year when called to pitch on consecutive days. To be fair, he sucked in general, but seemed to suck even more when you used with no rest. At no time did it ever seemed entertained to go with Kimbrel.

    Hindsight’s 20/20 and all that cliched stuff, but I don’t think you needed hindsight to make better calls. I was waiting for Swisher to homer.

  9. Gearrin is a ROOGY, much like Moylan. He’ll struggle in the bigs until a manager uses him properly.

  10. Kimbrel should’ve been warming up as soon as Venters allowed the single. Then he should have been brought in after Venters was no where close to throwing strikes to the next hitter. He’s our best player, and not using him in last night’s game is just bizarre.

    Gearrin vs Swisher was also bad, but at the time I was assuming EOF was available. Any other righty that’s not named Kimbrel vs Swisher seems equally bad to me as well.

  11. You cannot allow a struggling lefty to pitch to A-Rod in that situation. I think Fredi is like a lot of managers in that he feels he has to show confidence in guys that have performed well in previous years. But when the guy has nothing, that has to take a back seat to winning. But, it’s also his mindset that you have to have fixed roles so that the closer can NEVER come in before the 9th. I’ve defended Fredi to an extent, but that was inexcusable. It was in line (although obviously not as important a situation)with Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in too long against the Yankees in the ALCS. At some point, you can’t put your head in a box and pretend that this is 2011; Venters is struggling and Fredi apparently thinks if he ignores this he will stop struggling. I actually think this is the one move for which he deserves to be fired.

    Obviously, Venters is to blame in terms of how he pitched. But he didn’t hold a gun to Fredi’s head to put him in there or let him pitch to A-Rod with the bases loaded. And if Fredi is concerned about Venters’ confidence, this is only going to make things worse.

  12. This is the killer line from Fredi:

    “We’ve still got to get a couple outs there and then hand the ball over to Kimbrel and it just didn’t happen.””

    Why can’t you put him in with one out in the 8th? Is it a federal offense to use the closer before the 9th?

  13. The closer’s job is to shut down the opponent’s offense and secure the win. When he does this is irrelevant. Perhaps Fredi is too “concrete” in his thinking?

  14. [i]“We’ve still got to get a couple outs there and then hand the ball over to Kimbrel and it just didn’t happen.”[/i]

    Or Kimbrel could’ve gotten a couple of outs there and then handed the ball to Durbin/List/Livan/whoever. Tying run at the plate, 8th inning is way more important than up 4 runs with nobody on base in the 9th. We know this. Fredi knows this too, but Fredi gonna be Fredi.

  15. I don’t like the decision to let Venters pitch to Alex Rodriguez, because he has struggled this year and given up far more homers than he’s used to.

    But I absolutely don’t object to the quick hook for Minor. Minor could not have gone any longer. And I don’t object to using our non-terrible relievers in a three-run game. I don’t want Fredi throwing up the white flag in a still-winnable game. The problem with our 3-0 loss was our offense throwing up a stinkbomb against Ivan Nova. The problem with this loss was our bullpen throwing up a stinkbomb. I don’t blame Fredi for the offense; I just blame him for not having a quicker hook for Venters.

    As I’ve said earlier, I absolutely hate Gearrin and I don’t want to see him in the majors any more unless he can throw strikes. Fine, he’s probably a ROOGY, but he also collapses with runners on base, can’t be used on back-to-back days, and he’s a sinkerballer who somehow gave up a homer yesterday. He’s basically our new Joey Devine or Macay McBride: a guy with good stuff and good minor league numbers who doesn’t appear to have the confidence to throw strikes in an Atlanta Braves uniform.

  16. I think there must be a law that Kimbrel cna only pitch in the ninth inning.

    The fact that EOF was unable to go yesterday is all the more reason that Kimbrel should have been in the game. He hasn’t pitched in a few days. We have an off day Thursday to boot. It isn’t going to hurt to let him pitch two innings.

    If Kimbrel came in and gave up 15 runs, it would have been better. When the game is on the line late in the game, you have to use your stud and let the chips fall.

    It would be like having LeBron James and not putting him in w/ 4 minuets to go in favor of Juwan Howard.

  17. There’s a chance that we’ll see Kimbrel used in a non-save situation tonight just so he can get some work in, since we have an off-day tomorrow and he hasn’t pitched in a while. That will definitely create some lolz.

  18. I checked out Moylan’s splits to confirm what I had remembered. After 2009, Bobby Cox stopped asking Peter Moylan to pitch to lefties. Judging by Moylan’s 2011 stats, Fredi at least remembered how to handle Moylan.

    But if everyone agrees that Gearrin is basically a homeless man’s Moylan, why is he handled completely differently? Both of their stats lead to the exact same conclusion: unless you can pitch around a left-handed hitter, neither guy should ever be pitching to one with the game on the line.

  19. According to Carroll and DOB, the Braves must be considering putting Medlen back in the bullpen.

  20. Atlanta Braves ‏@Braves
    RHP Cory Gearrin has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and RHP Anthony Varvaro has been recalled from Gwinnett.

  21. In case nobody has noticed, the Braves aren’t getting much from first base right now, neither Freeman nor Hinske are hitting.

  22. Cory Gearrin can’t go on back to back days. That’s why he’s never going to be a reliever at the ML level. All of the great stats at AAA won’t change that.

    I’ll take this opportunity to bid you kids adieu for a while. I don’t see much point in fighting and the kneejerk hatred of literally everything Fredi Gonzalez does is giving me angina. Enjoy yourselves.

  23. Sam, he pitched 2 innings the day before. Not many relievers even try going on back to back days.

  24. Ah yes, I see: my dissatisfaction with one trade means I dislike all of Frank Wren’s trades. Glad to see that you’re as nuanced as ever, Alex.

  25. Hah! Touche.

    But you didn’t complain that absolutely everyone on here liked all of Frank Wren’s trades. You simply ironically complained about one, and I ironically appropriated the form of your complaint to imply my satisfaction with a different trade.

  26. Huddy has his work cut out for him tonight. I don’t like this matchup of super-patient guys (with power) against a guy that now mostly relies on guile and nibbling on the fringe of the zone. He’s our stopper though, and we need him bigtime tonight to somehow salvage a game in this series and wash away the past few bad losses.

  27. I swear, I want to punch half of the Yankees in the face when I see them on the TV. What a contingency of jerk-offs.

  28. Good thing we have Chip around to stump for the Yankees’ pitchers.

    What a tool. I hope he falls out of the press box one day. Soon.

  29. Wonder what happened there on the bunt by Simmons? It sorta looked like the safety squeeze was on. He was looking over at Jason like wtf? Oh well. Joe Simpson was right to criticize him if he did that on his own.

  30. The defense was napping because the bunt was stupid. One out with runner at 3rd…pitcher due up next…get the run in and tie the game.

  31. Runner on second, no outs, 3, 4 and 5 hitters: you’d think we might squeeze out a run.

  32. Sometimes it appears as if the Braves could be spotted a runner on third to start all nine innings, and at the end of the game they’d lose 6-5.

  33. Whew. We almost scored a run there, and we can’t do that unless Derek Jeter and the Yankees say it’s okay.

  34. The offense remains offensive. It feels like it now takes 4 hits in an inning to even think about scoring a run.

  35. How does Chip live with himself? He has to know how miserable he is at what he does.

  36. Is there some reason Rodriguez’s home run last night was replayed about a half-dozen times in the first minute after it was hit, but McCann’s home run to take the lead hasn’t been thus far?

  37. Just… what did we do, to have all the joy sucked out of our lives by these fuckers?

  38. Thank God for Derek Jeter. If it hadn’t been for him, they would only be tied.

    What a winner. Just sublime talent.

  39. Juan Fransisco’s time with this club has come to an end. Sunk cost, move on. Replace him with a right handed 1B that can pinch hit.

  40. I don’t know how they’ve escaped relatively unscathed at the ballpark, but it’s been a non-stop gully-washer of biblical proportion at my place for the last hour. If I didn’t live on the top floor, I would be starting to become concerned about flooding.

  41. Diaz stays on the bench, and Hinske is 1-12 against LHP this season. What in the hell is Fredi doing.

  42. 11 left on base. Diaz shouldve been brought in for Hinske. If Torre goes to the righty then you have Freeman.

  43. I forgot about Wilson, why is he still on this team? He and Fransisco sure do solidify our bench. I have a little faith in Hinske, but at this point Im not sure why.

  44. I had strikeout, popout in the pool. That’s the thing with the Braves: you can never predict how they’re going to waste scoring chances.

  45. They just had to show how “great” the Braves are at scoring runs from 3rd, didnt they?

  46. So the Braves have more hits, xbh, walks. Our pitchers have struck out more batters. Yet, we will lose another 1 run game. Rubbish

  47. Three strikeouts and a ground ball does not equal an inning and a third in this case, does it?

  48. Seeing Kimbrel dismantle these shitheads was a bright spot in an otherwise terrible game. So, sincerely: thanks for that, Fredi.

  49. Kimbrel got four outs. And the moron in the dugout somehow thinks five outs — after two days’ rest — is beyond him.

  50. Four game losing streak, five back in the division.

    This is another reason the Wild Card is terrible, because otherwise people could forget about this team sometime in August.

  51. Wish that broken bat had gone straight through Jeter’s right eye. Would have also accepted A-Rod’s sternum.

    What a shitheap series.

  52. #145–August? The way we are playing I would say July at the latest….

  53. Three wins closer to the playoffs for the Yankees, thanks to playing a joke of a team.

  54. I still think this is a 75 to 80 win team. I’ll watch every game regardless, but the expectations just aren’t there.

  55. Oh, and Kimbrel pitched a filthy 9th tonight. Fredi’s master plan to keep him fresh and nail down the loss seems to have worked to perfection.

  56. What I also like is how we finished September and then how much the Front Office did to improve the team in the offseason….

  57. What a stupid game that was. So many hits! So many runners left on! The only time Bourne gets a hit is the only time he came up that runners weren’t on base! (Well, except his first AB, obviously.)

    And is no one else bother by the fact that it’s okay to bring in Kimbrel down 1 in the 9th but NOT up 4 with the bases loaded and one out in the 8th? I mean, SERIOUSLY?! Going with Venters was the right decision up until the moment he loaded the bases and a RH power hitter was up. THEN you tell your closer to buck up and throw an extra two thirds of an inning.

  58. And yeah, csg @108 is 100% right. If you don’t pinch hit Matt Diaz for Eric Hinske against a LOOGY, why on Earth is Diaz on the roster? I’m forced to assume that Freeman was simply unable to play tonight (because, you know, they had him come back two days to early and now his finger hurts again or something stupid like that), because the alternative (Fredi really, truely, was not paying any attention) is absurd.

  59. Hinske looks like he can’t play baseball anymore. And yeah, I guess Diaz is only allowed to take AB’s away from Heyward. It’s asking a bit too much for Fredi to pay attention for the *whole* game. 9 innings is a lot. And it was raining.

  60. @167

    This is something I have thought about Fredi too. I know he is there at the game, but there are things that happen in the game that makes you think he is not paying attention.

    Maybe he is just SUPER level headed or just a very calm guy. But I think he tends to jsut let things go too much.

  61. I know the Venters/A-Rod debacle was a game ago and that it’s not fair to take AJC writers’ justifications for Fredi’s decisions as Fredi’s own. But their rationale — that Kimbrel throws lots of pitches and couldn’t make it through 1 2/3 IP — only underscores just how constricted the stupid conventional thinking is about bullpen management. If what they’re saying about Kimbrel is true, what’s wrong with using Kimbrel to get out of the jam, so you can hand a 4-0 game over to Durbin in the 9th? Even if Kimbrel grybos in a run or two, let Durbin pitch with the slate clean and get a rogue save.

    I have to figure a Freeman setback kept Fredi from switching out Hinske. I have to. There’s only so much idiocy I can take.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Medlen now. It’ll say something about how much they believe in Minor and Delgado.

  62. Agree totally with Adam R. Except that goes against the sacred Book of Conventional Managing circa 2012 which states: “Only the annointed closer can close a game. Use of non-annointed closer to close game will cause head to explode.”

  63. @171

    I think you let Medlin work it out in AAA until the All Star Break.

    Then I think you look at the biggest on the field issues and trade one of Minor, Delgatto or Medlin (or possibly put Medlin back in the pen if Minor and Delgatto are rolling)

    As of now, we need to upgrade our bench and bullpen. That should cost a lot less than one of those three.

    I think we will look in the system for bullpen help.

  64. We have to upgrade the bench core of Wilson, Fransisco, Hinske. Ross and Diaz are useful. We really need a RH’d corner infield/outfield bat. We also need at least one good RH’d arm for the pen.

    Wilson .167/.190/.183
    Hinske .214/.287/.274
    Fransisco .229/.250/.438

  65. Why are the Braves so bad at home? Is it just randomness or is there a cause? Except for the first homestand, they have been lousy in Atlanta.

  66. Hinske has earned the opportunity to turn it around. I agree about Wilson and Francisco — dead weight.

  67. #176 – I agree on Hinske and Im fine with him getting PH duty, just dont like him in the field.

  68. As a big “Forrest Gump” fan, I can’t help but think of this year’s Braves as a Whitman’s Sampler.

    If someone here can make a strong case, either way, on how the Braves will fare against the Orioles this weekend, I’d love to hear it. I’m lost.

    I guess I should be thankful I’ll see a lot of them on ESPN next week.

  69. Can’t Diaz or Ross play 1B for a inning? Letting Hinske face a tough lefty, pinch-bunting, not making Bourn steal second when Prado is up…it’s death by a thousand cuts with Fredi.

  70. @175 – The 4.66 home ERA would have something to do with it. And that the Braves have been out-homered, out-doubled and out-stolen(?) at Turner Field.

    I guess those are just the results and don’t get at the ‘why’ but I’ve got nothing except that the Braves’ pitching hasn’t been very good and the pitcher’s park helps the enemy’s staff more.

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