Monday, October 11, 2010
Bobby Cox does what he (thinks) he has to do
Craig Calcaterra (who's a Braves fan, by the way) on tonight's shocking lineup change:
I know Troy Glaus can't field anymore either, but what choice does Bobby Cox have? All the players said the right things last night, but you know deep down none of them want Conrad at second base. And the fans? Well, Bobby Cox doesn't give a hoot about what they think, thank goodness, but they wouldn't be too pleased themselves. If Glaus screws up, well, yeah, that will suck, but at least he saved everyone's bacon on Friday. At least he's a veteran. At least it's not doing the same thing and expecting a different result, and people will accept that a hell of a lot better than they'd accept Conrad fielding a ground ball again.
The truth is that there are no good options here. Diory Hernandez may have an OK glove, the Braves wouldn't be in the mess they're in if they could hit a lick, and Hernandez's bat is probably worse than Glaus' glove. When you do battle in the playoffs with your sixth or seventh infielder starting games you're pretty much screwed no matter what you do.
I promise I'll stop beating this poor dead horse soon. Really soon. But this thing just got away from Cox. Plain and simple.
If Cox really thought his best lineup included Glaus at third base and Omar Infante at second base, that's the lineup he would have been writing out every game.
He hasn't been. In his heart, Cox believes his best lineup includes Infante at third base and Brooks Conrad at second base. Except now psychology has come into this thing: Cox and Conrad's. Cox simply can't live with the idea of Conrad kicking a few more balls in this series, and for all we know Conrad can't, either.
But Cox got himself into this mess. If Conrad really isn't good enough to start, Cox should have known that before today. And I can't stop thinking that all this could have been avoided, if Cox had simply lifted Conrad for a better defensive player in the ninth inning of Game 3.
I'm sorry to say this about a Hall of Fame manager who's on the way out. But he blew this one from seven ways to Sunday. Plain and simple.