After weeks of rumors, the 9-28 Braves finally fired Fredi Gonzalez. The club’s poor performance isn’t Gonzalez’s fault, of course, but managers almost always fall on the sword in these situations. The Braves, who move into a new ballpark next year, are rebuilding and looking towards the future, so in reality, being the worst team in baseball isn’t exactly bad news since they’ll get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft and accrue some extra bonus slot and international spending pool money.
Triple-A manager Brian Snitker has been promoted to fill Gonzalez’s shoes in the interim. Snitker served as the Braves’ third base coach from 2006-13, their bullpen coach in 1985 and 1988-90, and accrued managing experience with just about every team in the Braves’ minor league system, including Triple-A Gwinnett since the start of the 2014 season.
In his first major league rodeo, Snitker has already chosen to change things up. His lineup has Ender Inciarte leading off, followed by Nick Markakis, Freddie Freeman, A.J. Pierzynski, Gordon Beckham, Kelly Johnson, Daniel Castro, starter Aaron Blair, and Mallex Smith. Gonzalez hit the pitcher eighth a handful of times, but his most common lineup had Markakis leading off. Will the lineup change spark a change in the Braves’ fortunes? Probably not. That the Braves have hit 11 home runs and averaged 3.08 runs per game as a team, far below the respective league averages of 39 and 4.40, is a talent problem, not a lineup configuration problem.
Blair will be opposed by Pirates starter Juan Nicasio in a 7:05 PM EDT game at PNC Park tonight.
The rest of Tuesday’s action…