CharlatanSin wrote:Question about the Atlanta situation. Yahoo is insisting over and over that Mike Gonzalez is holding onto the job by the skin of his teeth, and that it's basically a closer by committee right now where he and Soriano are splitting opportunities. It seems to me, from following box scores, that Gonzalez is undoubtedly the closer, and Soriano gets the odd chance when Cox puts Gonzalez in to deal with some particularly frightening lefties in the eighth.
So, is Yahoo stupid, or am I just naive and a wishful thinking Gonzalez owner? Any Braves homers with insight?
I put together a post at the beginning of the season talking about how Gonzalez was the "closer", but matchups and Cox's desire to keep Gonzo, Soriano, and Moylan healthy after injuries could mean a lot of save ops for Soriano as players rotated around. While that was the reality then, I don't believe it's the reality anymore. Gonzo's proven he can handle the job and can come in 3 nights in a row or 4 out of 5 and still remain effective. Soriano and Moylan have also shown that their injuries are behind them and can be used at any time. This allows the Braves to define roles and stick to them, which was a concern early. So Gonzo is the closer. Soriano is the setup man. And that's that. Every now and then, Gonzo may come in during the 8th to shut down lefties (like that Philly game where he came in to get Howard, Ibanez, and Stairs), but do not expect that to be the norm.
What's interesting is that Gonzo really isn't appreciably better against lefties. It's Soriano
who absolutely owns righties
. So when you see Gonzo come in early to face lefties, it's not because he owns them, but because Soriano doesn't. Also, Gonzo's unique delivery makes it less likely for him to come into a game with someone else's runners already on base, which makes it unlikely that he'll come in to bail someone out in the 8th leaving the 9th for Soriano, when the reverse makes more sense. In any case, either of these guys could be closer without question, but the Braves have decided on Gonzo (mostly because he got hurt first and got better first), and that's the way it's going to be until something drastic happens. Both of these guys are performing excellently in their defined roles, so there's no reason to change anything, and Cox has given no indication that it's even being considered. Hope that helps.