Should Brooks Conrad Have Been in the Game in the Ninth Inning?By GEORGE BRETHERTON
Braves Manager Bobby Cox is retiring after this season, and nothing that happens in this National League division series between Atlanta and San Francisco is going to change Cox’s standing as one of the great managers in baseball history.
But even great managers make mistakes, and Cox may have saved one of his biggest for one of his last games.
braves, phillies, reds, nascar, cowboys The situation in the top of the ninth inning in Sunday’s Braves-Giants game was this: Atlanta was protecting a one-run lead with three outs to go.
The question: Why was Brooks Conrad, a player who had already committed two errors in Sunday’s game, and a player who had made five errors in his previous six games heading into Sunday, still in the game for the final three outs?
Cox had an option. Diory Hernandez, an infielder with one error in 34 career games, was available on the bench. Although he was the last position player available for the Braves, Hernandez was not a realistic option as a pinch-hitter: Hernandez has a career batting average of .138 in 94 at-bats.
After the game, Cox was asked if he had any thoughts of removing Conrad for a defensive replacement. He said: “No, we were down to one player on the bench with Hernandez, position guy, and we didn’t want to use Ross.”
(Catcher David Ross later entered the game in the bottom of the ninth as a pinch-runner for Brian McCann).
But with the game on the line with three outs to go, would you have preferred to see a defensive replacement sent into the game for a struggling Conrad?