One final note from that Braves-Reds game yesterday. After the game, Dusty was being asked about his bullpen usage. Specifically, why he pulled Arthur Rhodes after he struck Jason Heyward out with the bases loaded rather than have him face the grand slam-hitting Brooks Conrad. Dusty’s response:
“He wouldn’t have faced Conrad,” Baker said. “It would have been Clevlen.”
That’s Brent Clevlen, the Braves’ right-handed bench jockey.
To which I ask whether or not Baker is aware that Brooks Conrad is a switch hitter, thereby obviating the need for Cox to bring Clevlen into the game to face Rhodes. That is, if he even would have done so had Rhodes stayed in. Clevlen has had exactly one plate appearance so far this year, and that came after he was used as a pinch runner in a blowout. I’d be shocked if Bobby Cox would have gone with anyone other than Conrad in that situation, regardless of who was pitching.
Of course this is Monday morning quarterbacking, and in saying what he said I think Dusty was exhibiting more frustration about an obviously crushing game than he was exhibiting ignorance about Brooks Conrad’s handedness (which I didn’t even know until it was pointed out to me).
To be honest, if I were Dusty I probably just would have said “look, what are the friggin’ odds that Brooks friggin’ Conrad would hit a friggin’ grand slam off my friggin’ $45 million closer? Go ask Cordero why it happened. Go ask my defense why they gave the Braves so many damn chances today. I’m gonna go get on the team plane and drink whiskey until they run out of it, OK? We done?”
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. It’s the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.
Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.
Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.