Time For The 2018 Edition Of “Go With What Got You Here.”
I don’t mean to Snitker pick, but…
Oh, those tricky Atlanta Braves!
Instead of starting Kevin Gausman as planned against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series, they stick him in the bullpen and start Sean Newcomb.
Openers! They’re all the rage! Like glow stickrs and the Model T! Because the Braves have done that all ye….wait. No they didnt.
Which leads us to our annual column about doing what got you here.
Which is exactly what the Braves didn’t do Sunday in Atlanta, down 2-0 in the series.
Leading 5-0 in the third inning, manager Brian Snitker panics. Newcomb threw gas but wasn’t right on the edges of the strike zone. He was a little off, but to the good side, as opposed to being wild in the strike zone which, as we’ve all seen, can you get killed.
After the third walk, Snitker pulls Newcomb with two out, two on and a five-run lead and brings in Gausman, who promptly starts looking like my kids the first time they played darts: Darts in the wall, darts in the light switch, and then the dart in the propane tank.
Boom! Justin Turner plates two and just like that, the whole complexion of the game changes.
Two innings later, Chris Taylor, who started because Newcomb started, hits a two-run homer to pull within a run and then Max Muncy hits the fourth curve ball he sees in five pitches nine miles.
Game tied and arguably because the manager out-thought the game and asked his pitchers to do what they’re not comfortable doing.
If you want to have your pitching staff do the opener, starter, reliever thing, do it at the start of the year. Get everyone used to it. Then you can go with what got you to the postseason. Game whatever of whichever postseason series is not the tim nor the place.
There’s enough pressure without your manager putting you into a position to fail.
Go with what got you here.
With all due respect, Sean Newcomb doesn’t qualify as an “opener.” By starting the kid in Game 3, Snitker was, in fact, doing what got us here. Newcomb did a fantastic job in the starting rotation throughout the season (he went to the bullpen only in the last week of September), including the night he pitched within one out of a no-hitter against — guess who — the Dodgers in L.A. You can second guess Snit’s choices in pulling him for Gausman if you want. But Newcomb was certainly one of the guys who brought the Braves to the dance.