Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez started Chase d'Arnaud at second base Tuesday night against the Phillies.
Why didn't Gonzalez start Kelly Johnson? Is Johnson one of Atlanta's best hitters? Of the 13 position players on the roster, is Johnson not one of the eight best to put in an everyday lineup?
What's weird is that the Phillies had Adam Morgan pitching. He's a left-hander. If Gonzalez was using his mix-and-match system to create a lineup, and that seemed so by him using Jeff Francoeur in left field against the southpaw, then why wouldn't he use Johnson?
Wait, you say. Johnson is a left-handed hitter. Well, yes he is, but he's one of those weird players that actually does better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers. Johnson is a career .272 hitter against left-handed pitchers, and he's got a .243 average against right-handed pitchers. Even this season Johnson has hit better against left-handers (.250) than against right-handed pitchers (.191).
Last week Johnson started on Tuesday in New York against right-hander Matt Harvey, a right-hander. Then he started against on Friday against Zack Greinke, another right-hander. Johnson hit cleanup in both games. But in between the Braves played a left-hander, Steven Matz, on Wednesday. Johnson was not in the lineup in that game.
So Johnson, who hits better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers, was good enough to hit cleanup in two games against right-handers but not even good enough to play against left-handed pitchers, even though he's better against left-handers by 29 points in his major league career?
Plus, isn't this team in need of power? Johnson had nine home runs in 197 plate appearances for the Braves last season.
d'Arnaud, a right-handed hitter, is a career .210 hitter. He's hit .217 against left-handed pitchers and .206 against right-handed pitchers in his career.
Tuesday night d'Arnaud made an error at second base and went 1-3 at the plate. He was pinch-hit for with Reid Brignac in the 9th inning.
Johnson was used as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the 9th inning against right-hander Jeanmar Gomez. He singled but was stranded at first base to end the game.
So again, why didn't Kelly Johnson start Tuesday night? Is Fredi Gonzalez playing his best players?
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.