Jason Heyward found himself on the bench on the final game of the 2011 season after Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez decided to start the right-handed hitting Matt Diaz in right field against Phillies starter Joe Blanton.
“Blanton historically has better numbers against lefties; right-handers hit him a little bit better,” Gonzalez said. “And if they do bring in (left-hander Cole) Hamels; Diaz is there.”
Entering the game, right-handers had hit .341 against Blanton this season, and left-handers .281. Also, Diaz had hit 2-for-6 with two RBIs against Blanton, while Heyward was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
“The lineup I put out there is guys you feel like are going to grind out some at-bats,” Gonzalez said.