Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.
A day after the Braves blew a four-run lead and lost to the Yankees Tuesday, Braves manage Fredi Gonzalez said he would do the same thing again. Well, maybe bring in a different relief pitcher. And no, not his closer.
Jonny Venters gave up a grand slam to Alex Rodriguez in the eighth inning to tie the game at 4-4. Cory Gearrin followed by allowing a two-run shot to Nick Swisher for the winning runs in a 6-4 loss.
“The only thing I would have no different, and again this is 20-20 hindsight, maybe brought in [Christhian] Martinez instead of Gearrin,” Gonzalez said Wednesday. “Other than that no.”
Gonzalez, who was working with a bullpen without the services of Eric O’Flaherty (elbow) and Chad Durbin (rest), said he did not consider bringing in closer Craig Kimbrel in the eighth. He said he didn’t want Kimbrel to pitch more than an inning, a situation he has rarely been in during his young career.
“Not five outs,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if he’s even done it in the major leagues. I know he’s done it in the minor leagues. Could he do it? I’m not sure. It’s not about the pitch count. It’s not about the stressful innings. [John Smoltz] could do it all the time, but he was a starter. He knew how to come out, sit down and then go back out there. There is an unknown when you are dealing with a young pitcher.
“We had it set up the way we wanted. We really did. If you look at the left-handers and the switch-hitters you wanted hitting right-handed we had it perfectly set up. It just didn’t happen.”