I hate April Fools’ Day. It’s the only day of the year where being a trollish douchebag is actually encouraged. I tend to be the kind of person who takes things at face value unless you give me a reason to believe otherwise, which means that I’m right in the target audience for April Fools’ pranks. Thankfully this year I remembered it right away (which has not always been my policy), and I haven’t yet seen anything that would have annoyed me if I’d seen it without the context (which has also not always been the case).

The Braves won on Opening Day! Hooray! They threw a shutout, even, although it was tempered somewhat by the fact that a) it was against the Nationals, and b) it was accomplished with a rainy-day “swing the bats so that we can go home, boys” strikezone. It’s questionable if Lowe makes it out of the fifth inning if it’s 70 degrees and sunny. The Nationals weren’t really hitting him hard, but he was throwing a lot of pitches. Of course, it’s also questionable if the Braves would have been held to just two runs in those conditions as well, which is the big flaw with theorycrafting.

Fredi Gonzalez made his presence known in his first game as manager, both by pulling Lowe after five and two-thirds (Bobby would have almost certainly let him try to finish the frame, as he did to his detriment several times last year — when Lowe loses it, he loses it in a hurry) and his usage of Venters and Kimbrel in the eighth and ninth innings, which was… well, not questionable, exactly, but at least unusual. The Braves had been banging the “co-closers” drum pretty hard coming out of Spring Training, and the way the lineups shook out would seem to indicate that this was a Venters save day — three righties in the eighth inning, and (assuming a 1-2-3 eighth) two lefties in the ninth. Gonzalez reversed that, though, sending out Venters in the eighth and letting Kimbrel get the save.

The Braves blogs have been spinning elaborate theories as to why he might have done this, but there seem to be only two possibilities as far as I’m concerned:

  1. The co-closers stuff is bull, and Kimbrel is going to close for as long as he shows he can manage it. The co-closers thing is just the Braves giving themselves an out; if Kimbrel struggles, they can turn the ninth over to Venters without making it seem like a demotion on Kimbrel’s part, because hey, co-closers.
  2. Gonzalez sees Venters as his best reliever, period, and is going to have him face the toughest hitters, no matter what inning it is or what side of the plate they hit from. Today, that was Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, and they came up in the eighth. If things had been a little different and they’d been scheduled to come up in the ninth, instead, Kimbrel would have pitched the eighth and Venters the ninth.

I don’t see any reason to make it more complicated than that at this time (and I think the latter is more likely than the former, personally). A handful of managers use elaborate strategems, but most do not, and I don’t see any reason to believe that Gonzalez is one of the few and proud at this time. At any rate, it was moot today, as both Venters and Kimbrel pitched clean, dominating frames. Keep it up and we won’t have any problems.

I should probably post something that’s not about baseball tomorrow, shouldn’t I? The Braves are off today, so it’d be a good 24-hour period for it. I’ll try and hammer out this next Majora’s Mask update. But if not that, maybe something about Muramasa: The Demon Blade instead? We’ll see, I guess.


1 Response to “Foolishness.”

  1. 1 falselogic April 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    April Fools Day is the worst. Not just on-line either. Most people are not funny nor do they know how to pull off a good prank. And, so we are left with stupid gags and such through out the day that are merely annoying.

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