10.11.10

AJC’s Bradley To Cox : Bench Conrad

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 pm by

The morning after Braves 2B Brooks Conrad’s 3 errors provided invaluable assistance to the visiting Giants in their 3-2, NLDS Game 3 victory, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley makes the not-so-bold proposition that Conrad be given Game 4 off. “It isn™t that Conrad has developed Steve Sax/Chuck Knoblauch Disease, where he can™t throw straight,” diagnoses Dr. Bradley. “Poor Brooks is so confused he can™t even think straight.”

We saw it last night even at those times he wasn™t making an error. He looked to second base before throwing ” accurately ” to first base, and in the game™s strangest moment he called off Derrek Lee to run over and catch a pop that should have been the first baseman™s all along. It isn™t that Conrad isn™t trying. On the contrary, he™s trying so hard he can barely remember where to stand.

Credit Conrad for facing reporters after the worst postseason game any Brave has ever had. (Let™s recall that Lonnie Smith ducked out after stopping at second base in the Metrodome in 1991.) But now it™s up to Cox. He has to do the right thing: He has to bench Brooks.

If that means playing Troy Glaus at third base and letting San Francisco bunt three times an inning, so be it. (The Giants are starting Madison Bumgarner, who™s a lefthander, so having Glaus at third ” as opposed to Eric Hinske ” makes a bit of tactical sense.) Omar Infante can move back to second, and Conrad can go back to being a pinch-hitter.

The important thing is to get Conrad in the dugout. He™s doing no one any good at second base, himself least of all. (His evocative postgame words: œI wish I could dig a hole and sleep in it.) And there™s no percentage in inflicting further indignity on the tough little guy whose big hits helped get the Braves beyond Game No. 162.

If, indeed, as Bradley claims, Conrad’s issues are mostly mental, surely there’s an establishment that can help him out, even on a Monday holiday?

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