Julio Teheran pitched a gem last night and it didn't matter. Because the immutable rule of baseball is that you must actually score a run to win, and the Braves failed to scratch across a solitary point. It's one thing to lose a game when you don't pitch well or don't play defense. It's another thing to get shutout 1-0 like you're playing in the English Premiere League.
First, props need to go out to Julio as he went 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and 8 Ks. I'll take that line from him any time he wants to show up. He'll go to the All-Star game with that line. We should win games with that line. But alas, this is a new year and we're finding new ways to lose.
Okay with that being said, let's focus on the moment in the game that made me absolutely lose my mind. I thought I'd been teleported to some dimension where there were no replay challenges, or at the very least where our manager has lost the ability to speak and ask for one. To set the stage, the Braves are down 1-0, it's the bottom of the 7th inning, Frenchy is on second and Freeman is on first. There's one out. A hit would score the tying run here.
So what happens? Fredi Gonzalez PH Drew Stubbs for Jace Peterson. Jace is a .250 hitter with RISP this year, and Stubbs is hitting .333, so I get that move. Jace hasn't been hitting well either, so I'm on board at this point. But Stubbs hits one to the second baseman, who bobbles the ball and then flips to second to get the close out. However, on further inspection Freddie actually hit the bag first, then came off the bag, then came back on it before he was tagged. The play should have been reviewed. But for some reason the Braves let it go, and Freddie was out. Runners at the corners and Mallex Smith coming up.
EXCEPT WAIT, Freddie Gonzalez pinch hit for Mallex with Eric Aybar. For those of you who don't remember who Aybar is, he hasn't had a hit since April 21st. He's hitting .136 at the time. Granted Mallex has been struggling as well, but you had other bench options. You had Kelly Johnson or Flowers at that point. Or you could have just rolled the dice with Mallex. But no, Fredi went with one of the worst hitters on the team with the game on the line. Guess why? Go ahead, guess. Because Mallex is a lefty, and Boston brought in a lefty reliever. So Fredi went with Aybar because he's a switch hitter. Yep, once again it's matchups. Insane matchups. Along with failing to challenge, it cost us the game.
Here's the terrible thing, Mallex is just as bad against lefties as Aybar. Mallex has a .067 average, Aybar has a .043 average this year. You know what Kelly Johnson is hitting off lefties? .400 in 2016. BUT KELLY IS A LEFTY CAN'T USE HIM THERE! I absolutely hate hate hate the way Fredi takes what hand you use over how good you are when making changes. I'm going to show up in the park and tell them I'm left-handed so I can pinch hit in the 8th inning.
Braves lose 1-0, they've lost 6 in a row again. I'm counting the days until Fredi Gonzalez is fired. I'm over it.