Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Bethancourt's mistakes behind plate lead to two San Diego runs


This shouldn't be taken as a suggestion that one of the Braves' most touted prospects is going to be a bust. But should the Braves be worried about Christian Bethancourt?

It's one thing for Bethancourt to be struggling offensively in his first full season (.206 batting average, which actually went up 10 points after getting two hits Thursday against San Diego). But the Braves' lost to the Padres 6-4 in 11 innings as much because of Bethancourt's poor play at catcher as another bullpen collapse or Julio Teheran's bad eighth inning.

A passed ball by Bethancourt with the bases loaded allowed San Diego to score its first of three runs in the eighth inning and narrow the Braves' lead to 4-2. Bethancourt now has four passed balls in only 26 games this season.

"It’s my job to catch the ball and I didn’t. The ball got by, they scored the run and I have nothing to blame it on ... just me," he said.

Later in the inning, with the bases still loaded and the score 4-3, Bethancourt was called for catcher's interference when the Padres' Cory Spangenberg swung the bat and it tipped Bethancourt's glove. Spangenberg was awarded first base and Yonder Alonso came home from third to tie the game 4-4.

"I could hear it in the dugout -- I don’t think it was any question .. it was catcher’s interference," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Bethancourt's impending arrival convinced the Braves to deal Evan Gattis in the winter and, to some degree, played a role in not making an aggressive offer to keep Brian McCann in free agency two years ago. The Braves have enough other holes on this team. They can't afford to have their young catcher giving games away.

MORE ON MyAJC: To read about Julio Teheran's start and another bullpen collapse, click here.


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.