Monday, October 11, 2010
Why Bobby Cox is loyal to Brooks Conrad
By Mark Simon
Brooks Conrad had four go-ahead home runs in the seventh inning or later this season, the most on the Atlanta Braves, and two shy of the MLB leader, Carlos Lee.
He hit .378 with runners in scoring position (fourth-best in the NL, sixth-best in the majors, minimum 50 plate appearances) and .341 in what are known as “high-leverage situations" (a Next-Level stat, measuring performance in situations in which a team's chances of winning are most dependent on performance).
May 11: In his first start of the season, filling in for an injured Chipper Jones, Conrad homers and has a Web Gem in an 11-3 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers. He’d start again the next day, hit a home run and drive in four more.
May 20: Conrad caps a ninth-inning rally with a walk-off pinch-hit grand slam, giving the Braves, who trailed 9-3 entering the ninth inning, a 10-9 win over the Cincinnati Reds. It was the Braves' third straight walk-off win and the first time a Brave hit a walk-off grand slam when down by three runs since Del Crandall in 1955.
June 12: With the score tied, 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning, Conrad successfully squeezes in a run with a bunt hit. The Braves beat the Minnesota Twins, 3-2. He was one of four players to put his team ahead with a bunt hit in the ninth inning, along with Howie Kendrick, Marco Scutaro and Chris Heisey.
July 24: Conrad snaps a 5-5 tie with an eighth-inning grand slam off Florida Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop. The Braves go on to score eight runs in the inning, rallying from 5-2 down, and go on to win, 10-5. He’s the fifth player in the last 60 years to hit two pinch-hit grand slams in the same season.
August 10: Conrad hits a go-ahead two-run home run in the ninth inning vs Matt Lindstrom. The Braves score three runs in the ninth inning and rally to beat the Houston Astros, 4-2. He became the first player to hit three go-ahead HR in the 8th inning or later off the bench since Rusty Greer for the Texas Rangers in 1995.
August 13: With the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers tied, 0-0, Conrad breaks the tie with a home run vs Hiroki Kuroda. The Braves win, 1-0. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Conrad was the fourth rookie in Braves history to win a 1-0 game with a home run.