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Jason Heyward gets benched on 22nd birthday

Aug 9, 2011, 6:37 PM EDT

Jason Heyward Getty Images

Even though the Braves are facing a right-hander in the Marlins’ Clay Hensley tonight, Jason Heyward is riding the pine in favor of the Braves’ newest sparkplug, Jose Constanza.  It’s the second straight day on the bench for the 2010 All-Star, who is celebrating his 22nd birthday.  He’s sitting even though he homered and walked in three plate appearances Sunday.

Constanza, a modern day Bo Hart, is 16-for-38 since debuting on July 29.  He even homered Sunday against the Mets.  He has two homers in 371 at-bats between Triple-A and the majors this season, matching his high total in seven seasons as a pro.

As much of a disappointment as Heyward has been this season, he’s still hitting .244/.339/.440 against right-handed pitchers.  It’s hard to blame the Braves for wanting to keep Constanza in there when he’s on fire, but there’s a good argument for using Heyward over Martin Prado against a righty.  Prado is hitting .265/.300/.412 versus right-handers, and the Braves are better defensively with Constanza in left and Heyward in right than with Prado in left and Constanza in right.

But Prado, even though he’s struggled moreso than Heyward since coming off the DL, is the established player and Heyward is still young and proving himself, at least in manager Fredi Gonzalez’s eyes.  We’ll see how it plays out for the Braves, who have won four out of five games after a shaky start to the second half.

  1. nps6724 - Aug 9, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Fredi Gonzalez is an idiot. The Braves could easily be 5 games closer to the Philles if an eggplant was in charge over this dumbass.

    • Old Gator - Aug 9, 2011 at 7:07 PM

      Yup. We watched Fat Fredi engender lackluster performances out of the Feesh for a couple of years and make all kinds of dumb moves when he was down here. Still and all, a rest for the Heyward Child might not be all that bad of an idea in this particular circumstance. It’s raining again tonight here in Macondo and he won’t get moldy sitting under cover.

      • The Personality Club - Aug 9, 2011 at 8:46 PM

        Gator – I’m a bit late on this, but I’d like to say it was awesome to see the LoMo/praying mantis encounter. I thought it was a great piece of writing, and thought maybe you’d imagined it as a means for adding texture.

        I’m nervous about the StL/(my team) match that just started, so I’ve got to hang out with the fun folk’ from the NL East.

      • Old Gator - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:05 AM

        PC: blush Thanks for the complement. It was a great episode – although LoMo has been in an awful funk since then and managed to get his leg slashed in a collision with Bonifacio the other night. So now we have three accursed ballplayers: LoMo and Clay Hensley by the mantis (who may have actually been the lwa Barwon Samedi in disguise), and Hanley by the evil spirit of the .342 amulet he was given by Scrooge McLoria as a clever way to get that pesky Pazuzu to jump from his portfolio manager to someone else.

    • nps6724 - Aug 9, 2011 at 7:13 PM

      6 people either Philly fans who like the fact the Braves are managed by Fredi or they’ve never watched this guy “manage” before.

  2. bambam08 - Aug 9, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Being a Philly fan I’d rather see Jose Constanza coming to bat against the Phillies than Jason Heyward.

    Gonzalez is an idiot for not letting Heyward play through it.

  3. macjacmccoy - Aug 9, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    over rated

  4. cowartsh - Aug 9, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    ok so the Braves have the second best record in the NL and fourth best record in baseball and yet we still have people calling the manager an idiot. He had dealt with injuries to chipper, prado, mccann, heyward, jurrjens,moylan and hanson. Saw uggla have the worst first half of the season imaginable and still has his team 4.5 up in the wildcard. Yeah youre right he sucks.

    • nps6724 - Aug 9, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      If you watched the Braves, you’d understand. He makes terrible in-game decisions (especially at crucial points in the game) and has routinely put poor hitters like Jordan Schafer and Alex Gonzalez at the top of the lineup. The Braves’ success has been almost entirely dependent on their pitching, pitchers who were pitching just fine in years prior to his arrival so it’s not like he has anything to do with it. When the game is on the line, he makes mind-numbingly stupid decisions like using LOOGY George Sherrill vs. RHB, using Scott Proctor AT ALL, bunting far more than should ever be done, and calling hit-and-runs with free-swingers who miss more than they hit.

      I’ll also point out managers don’t acquire a team’s talent so it doesn’t make sense to give Fredi credit for having quality players. Managers don’t do a whole lot to win games, but they can do a helluva lot to lose them. If Fredi would just stay out of the way, Atlanta would be much better off.

  5. mississippiguy - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    I know hindsight is 20/20, but I’m kinda glad Fredi let Prado play, since he was 4 for 6 with 3 RBI, including driving in the winning run. Heyward, who I happen to really like, came in as a pinch runner in the 11th inning and was promptly picked off first base.

  6. skids003 - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    All you Brave haters can go play with yourself. They’ll be there at the end, and maybe Heyward needs a little dose of this to get him going. You have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, yet all you armchair managers have all the answers. Hand picked by Bobby Cox should tell you something. He’s a winner and so are the Braves.

  7. halladaysbiceps - Aug 10, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    Fredi Gonzalez: “Hapy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Jason, happy birthday to you.”

  8. cowartsh - Aug 10, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Ive been a braves fan since 75 and ive probably missed 2 games this year so i watch the games. Schafer was playing because of injury and he failed but what were the other options particularly when prado was hurt? Sometimes you try something to shake it up when the offense is abysmal. As far as proctor goes he was ok earlier in the year and has been awful of late. Accordingly his appearances have been few and far between. As you know many people are screaming about oflaherty, venters, and kimbrel being overused so someone else has to pitch. I personally hope moylan comes back and provides that right hand arm in the bullpen and proctor can go away. Christian Martinez has looked good lately as well and is seeing more time

    • nps6724 - Aug 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      While Schafer had to play, he didn’t have to bat first, which was the issue with the move. And though Proctor was decent early on, he’s been terrible for the last month and he’s never really been any good in the first place.

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