Gonzalez may change up predictable back end of bullpen

Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.

Fredi Gonzalez may be about to deliver his own change-up.

Much of the baseball world is fully aware of the back end of the Braves bullpen featuring Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and closer Craig Kimbrel. The lefty-lefty-righty combination is becoming too predictable, said the Braves manager.

Recently, Gonzalez has been calling on Venters in the seventh inning and O’Flaherty in the eighth, a switch from the past routine. He said Friday he might use right-hander Chad Durbin to help break up the pattern.

“Everybody in America knows our back end is lefty-lefty-righty,” Gonzalez said. “You could see the way they use their bench through the course of the game they are anticipating that. There is a little gamesmanship in me that wants to go lefty-righty-lefty. … You notice during the course of the game other managers using their left-handed pinch-hitters earlier because they know we are going with back-to-back lefties in the seventh and eighth.”

O’Flaherty said moving to an eighth-inning assignment, brought about by recent struggles by Venters, has not change his approach.

“I always try to put up a zero regardless [of when I pitch],” O’Flaherty said. “Everyone in the bullpen knows if we can get the ball to Craig with a lead the game is pretty much over. That is all we are trying to do. We’ve had several guys be shaky this year, including myself, and Fredi is just doing his best to get the ball to Craig with a lead.”

Etc.

* Gonzalez said he expects right-hander Kris Medlen to pitch between 85-90 pitches in his next outing with Triple A Gwinnett. The Braves are stretching out Medlen for a role in the starting rotation. He worked five scoreless innings Thursday in his second start with the G-Braves, allowing four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

* Shortstop Andrelton Simmons made his Turner Field debut Friday after being called up from Double A Mississippi. He was hitting .333 (6-for-18) and has made several key defensive plays since his arrival.

“This is what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Simmons said. “It’s nothing new. The first game I was kind of anxious to see how it goes. After I took my first ground ball I was like ‘I’ve done this before. I can do it.’ After that it was just routine. It’s my job. As a shortstop I expect to make every play that I can get to.”

47 comments Add your comment

Mike

June 8th, 2012
7:10 pm

Mike

June 8th, 2012
7:14 pm

How did JJ do last night?

Rafael

June 8th, 2012
7:16 pm

Other MLB teams are “licking their chops” in anticipation of Fredi bringing in Chad “PROCTOR” Durbin in the late innings.

It’s TIME for Fredi to GO!!!!! Fredi (Ricky Ricardo JR.) is in love with these WASHED-UP “Affordable” BUMS… Jack “Julio Lugo LITE” Wilson, Matt “he rakes lefthanders you know” Diaz, Chad “PROCTOR” Durbin, Livian “18-team” Hernandez, Jose “Can’t” Cantanza….

Can we just name CHIPPER manager NOW????!!!!!

Fredi is going to be run out of the ATL like he was in Florida. Gonzalez lost the Marlins clubhouse and he already has lost the Braves clubhouse. As Hanley Ramirez so aptly phrased it… “he never played the game.”

Let’s drop Fredi like a “bad habit” and bring in our next hall of fame manager CHIPPER JONES.

Jay Dubu

June 8th, 2012
7:18 pm

JJ pitches tonight for Gwinnett.

old brave, retired

June 8th, 2012
7:29 pm

Andrelton Simmons had one of the best defensive series against the Marlins that I think I have ever seen. He is the best shortstops the team has ever had. When we get Freddie and Chipper back, Medlen pitching for Minor, and demote Ventors until he regains his 2011 form, we will be an awesome force. Peace everyone.

Randy S

June 8th, 2012
7:29 pm

This makes so little sense. Why does it matter what inning they used their LH pinch hitters? Pitch your best pitchers in the most important spots. Not too much else to it.

Tony C.

June 8th, 2012
7:32 pm

@ Rafael- ?en serio? He’s not that bad, and yeah the “O’Ventbrel” line has gotten predictable, and right now, Venters isn’t being the untouchable guy he’d been the past couple of seasons, makes sense to shake it up a little bit, give some other guys an opportunity. When an important piece of our 7-8-9 is struggling, now is the time of year to find out who can handle those situations…not August or September….

duronimo

June 8th, 2012
7:35 pm

Chad Durbin has been doing much better lately. That’s why he’s getting this opportunity. I wish him the best.

YoungerThan ThatNow

June 8th, 2012
7:41 pm

Rafael… what I read in your entire post is “I know nothing about the game of baseball”… and that’s all I read there!

GO BRAVES!

Christopher Brown

June 8th, 2012
7:44 pm

Chipper will never be a manager. After he retires, he wants to spend some time with his family and then eventually explore options to work in broadcasting or maybe be a hitting coach. But he has specifically stated that he won’t ever be a manager because it’s just too much work, especially having to say the right things to the media every day. The media is probably the biggest factor is Chipper’s desire to avoid being a manager.

Slips

June 8th, 2012
8:09 pm

Regardless if teams are anticipating it–nobody is hitting it. Venters isn’t getting hit because teams know what’s coming. He’s getting hit because that cutter and that slider aren’t the same devastating pitches they were last year. He’ll get it figured out, I’m sure. His stuff is too good. And nobody can hit Kimbrel. O’Flaherty (E-Flat, as my friends and I call him) is EXACTLY the same guy he was last year. Durbin isn’t having the miserable season that a lot of the fans seem to think he is, but I can understand the sentiment of breaking up the big 3…the most valuable weapon on our team.

Dr. Don

June 8th, 2012
8:14 pm

Rafael – you are a moron.

My Thoughts

June 8th, 2012
8:17 pm

I really hope I am wrong but i sense a little attitude with Simmons, both in what he says and his facial expressions. For instance last night after that great over the head catch in the outfield plus his comments in this article. Yes Harper had same hope they both work out !!! Great prospect and wish him a long career here in Atlanta !! We need you !!! (BTW who said he is a weak hitter ?? )

Playoffs!!!

June 8th, 2012
9:11 pm

I think that is a stupid idea—- classic case of over-managing. If Venters and EOF are pitching well, they can get anybody out. Durbin in the eighth, Really?!?

BravesfaninWis

June 8th, 2012
9:38 pm

Typical Brandon Beachy outing. Good stuff early, high pitch count, walks, and homeruns late. This pitching staff has been murdered by giving up walks and homeruns all year. How I wish this team had a pitching staff like they did when they had Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine. This staff is complete crap compared to those guys. This is a game the Braves should have won easily, and now Toronto has the lead. They can still win this game, but I won’t bet on it.

kerryb

June 8th, 2012
10:32 pm

I’m coming to the realization that we wasted a good young pitching arm for Juan Francisco.

Smackerel

June 8th, 2012
10:52 pm

Slips is right. Unpredictability is overrated. One time my kid was on the mound and a grizzled ex minor league pitcher was calling the pitches and making no effort to disguise what he was calling. My kid shook him off twice. The coach said out loud so everybody could hear it “why are you shaking me off?” “Because the he can see it.” The grizzled vet said with a smile, “Just ’cause he knows what’s coming don’t mean he can hit it.”

I luv Fredi

June 8th, 2012
11:16 pm

Geez this team needs a professional hitter in the middle of the lineup

Hiway61

June 8th, 2012
11:16 pm

time will tell kerryb

Hiway61

June 8th, 2012
11:19 pm

I luv fredi@11:16…Yes we do..like a Bautista….

Bob Didier

June 8th, 2012
11:56 pm

Yes, it may have been a bad deal to get Francisco. Hoover has pitched well with Cincy with an ERA in the 2’s. Our bullpen is getting taxed with so many innings. Expect Gearin to be brought up tomorrow for Boscan. We need an extra arm in the pen. Livan is the only one who should pitch tomorrow with maybe an inning from Martinez.

jj

June 9th, 2012
12:38 am

I think JJ gave up 2 runs in 6innings tonight

bravo-n-knoxville

June 9th, 2012
2:12 am

Durbin has stranded 15 of 17 runners that he has inherited thru tonight’s game. No problem with Fred G. changing it up, but while he is at it he can use anyone in the pen at anytime regardless of the situation as long as they can get outs. Martinez has been iffy lately as well as Venters all season.

Just get Mac in the lower portion of our order until he can produce as a team player with the bat in his hands. He took 2 consecutive knee high strikes on the outer 3rd of the plate to start his AB in the 9th with Prado on 2nd and 1 out representing the winning run. I would not gripe if the 3B had not been playing where the SS normally plays in the “Mac” shift . I know C is the most grueling position, but Piazza was known as the best offensive C in the modern era for a reason… he went the pitch, and with autority! Fred needs to get a clue on his ever changing order.

reckingball

June 9th, 2012
2:49 am

Glad they won.
go braves!

Gimper & McError

June 9th, 2012
7:41 am

When Chipper retires he’ll be living on his chicken farm and nibbling on Hooters wings. You dig?

alanfalcon

June 9th, 2012
8:27 am

Would someone tell Freddie that this is a no brainer, can’t believe its taken this long to see this, sounds as if he were tryig to pattern the bullpen after the Milwaulke Braves theme of ( Sphann, Sain amd pray for rain) at least they were starters.

longtimefan

June 9th, 2012
8:30 am

Rafael- I think you must have FG and Diaz confused with two other guys that stole your ice cream when you were a kid.

Seriously?

June 9th, 2012
8:42 am

@BravesfaninWis, I’m pretty sure 95% of major league starting rotations are complete garbage compared to three first ballot hall-of-famers. It’s an unfair comparison to say that these guys aren’t as good as Maddox/Glavine/Smoltz.

TrueBravesFan

June 9th, 2012
9:10 am

Rafael
You are a moron and an idiot.

jd56

June 9th, 2012
9:12 am

OK! Here we go again! Durbin has been outstanding since early May. He has walked through the last month and a half with an ERA under 2. It is not an wasy task as a one inning reliever to bring your ERA from an 18.00 down to under 5.
He as much as the haters do not want to hear, has been more consistant than others over the last several weeks. Cut him some slack! He is doing his job, and that is what they pay him to do.

Mikey

June 9th, 2012
9:46 am

We need a professional hitter in the middle of the lineup, do you mean like Uggla, McCann, Freeman & Heyward? Every team in baseball would love to have that productivity and future success in a second.

Flo-Rio-Duh

June 9th, 2012
9:55 am

Defense has made the pitching better. Now that the Braves have a shortstop that can play defense they won’t have any more 8 game losing streaks. They do have be mindful that Kimbrell throws very hard and should be routinely rested to save his arm. Last year they just wore him and Ventors out.

reckingball

June 9th, 2012
10:15 am

Bravefan?inWis @9:38pm………”They can still win this game, but I won’t bet on it.”
You are constantly making these kind of predictions about the Braves, that don’t pan out, the way that it looks like you would want them to(a Braves loss).
Such as a prediction, when the Braves swept the Cardinals. Before the last game you said “I have a very ‘good’ feeling that the Braves will lose this game.”
What kind of a fan has a ‘good’ feeling that the team they support is going to lose?
What with all of these wrong predictions, I suggest you change your handle from Bravesfan?inWis to Nostradumbass.
Nostradumbass, yeah, that fits you better.
go braves!

Whiskey River

June 9th, 2012
10:26 am

@reckingball Since he is in Wisconsin, maybe he should be a Brewer fan. He is definitely not a Brave fan. Go Braves!!!

Tommy

June 9th, 2012
11:37 am

Anya Hashimika Yobosayo

Caesar

June 9th, 2012
11:38 am

Hey Rafael, you got a problem with Cuban people, ..no need to tie Fredi to Ricky Ricardo, you are stereotyping big time dude!

Whisky River

June 9th, 2012
11:43 am

@Tommy As I told Andy, Go home Tommy. Get out of here and go home to your wife. Bye

Dirty Dawg

June 9th, 2012
1:05 pm

Whoever it was that started the thing about Simmons maybe displaying ‘attitude’…I hope you mean that in a positive sense cause the kind of attitude that Yunell had can be a cancer, but the kind that displayes confidence in ones ability and grows as he comes to realize that he not only belongs here he can be exceptional is what makes teams and players great. This kid is so good in my mind that I predict that one day young Mr Pastornicky will be telling his Grandkids that back in 2012 ‘he’ actually ‘beat out’ Andreton (sp) Simmons as the starting SS for the Atlanta Braves…for a couple of months at least…and those Grandkids will have to go ask Grandma cause they won’t believe it.

Whisky River

June 9th, 2012
1:18 pm

As I said before. Now I will say it again. Leave Simba, JHey and Scoop right where they are. They are the nucleus of the team. They will be superstars. LEAVE THEM ALONE.

reckingball

June 9th, 2012
1:24 pm

It is still a free country, and people have the right to say almost anything that they want.
If you do not like the comments, or the folks making the comments, my advice is, spin the wheel and scroll past their comment.
go braves!

Whisky River

June 9th, 2012
1:38 pm

@reckingball If you are referring to me, you are right. I do. I still have the right to mine

reckingball

June 9th, 2012
2:09 pm

I agree. You do have the right to say almost anything that you would like.
You can even proclaim yourself to be the Head Blog Nazi, and try to bully others off of this blog, if you wish.
But those other people have the same rights as everyone else.

Whisky River

June 9th, 2012
2:22 pm

@reckingball OK sorry you feel that way. That is not my intention. If I feel that someone is wrong, I tell them, but I still respect their opinion, THey should respect mine. I am a retired detective and sometimes had to be boisterous. I guess maybe I need to calm down. Sorry if I hurt anyone. Say whatever you want,but let me say what I want. If we dont agree than we can have an intelligent conversation.

Tamacun el vengador errante

June 9th, 2012
5:41 pm

Rafael lo que me das a entender es que tuvistes una disilucion amorosa con algun cubano sangra por la herida despechada.

Tamacun el vengador errante

June 9th, 2012
5:43 pm

Rafa eres una traquetiada y una gran invidiosa sufre canalla.

Tamacun el vengador errante

June 9th, 2012
5:47 pm

Rafa yo se quien te robo el helado JOSE CANSECO.

william in pasadena

June 9th, 2012
10:13 pm

“My Thoughts”, you need top chill. If Simmons has an attitude, tghat ios great. We need some players with attitude. How about this name for Simmons: Simmon-ize ( his defense shines)?

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