Braves’ Snitker focuses on Phillies, not job security (Sep 23, 2017)

ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker said he is not going to worry about whether he will be running the club next year. He plans to show up Saturday, put on his uniform and go to work, just like he has always done.

Snitker could possibly be managing his final home games this weekend as the Braves wrap up their first season at SunTrust Park. His one-year contract expires at end of the season and his future is in question.

Snitker will be at the helm on Saturday when the Braves send Julio Teheran (11-12, 4.52 ERA) against Philadelphia’s Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 7.20).

The Braves won the first game of the three-game series 7-2 on Friday. It was Atlanta’s third straight win over Philadelphia, which still leads the season series 12-5.

“I don’t dwell on stuff like that,” Snitker said of his job security. “I come and work and do the best I can today. That’s always what I’ve done with the teams I’ve had over the years. I’ve told them the only thing you can control is today.”

Snitker was hired as the interim manager last year when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez on May 17, 2016. He was named manager in the offseason and given a one-year deal after the team went 59-65. But this year’s team is 69-83 and likely to finish third in the National League East, even though it has surpassed last year’s win total.

Snitker has been with the Atlanta organization since 1981 and has served as a roving instructor, coach and manager, making stops from Class A to Triple-A Gwinnett. Even if he is fired, Snitker is expected to remain with the organization in some capacity.

“I’d love to be here,” he said. “I want to be here. We’ll see.”

Teheran will make his 31st start of the season. He lost to the Mets in his most recent start on Sept. 17, ending his four-game winning streak. Teheran pitched well in the loss, allowing two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts in six innings.

Teheran has not fared well against the Phillies this season, going 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts. His career record against Philadelphia is good; he is 8-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 18 appearances, 17 starts.

Philadelphia catcher Cameron Rupp has hit well against Teheran. Rupp is batting .357 (10-for-28) with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs against Teheran.

Alvarez had been sidelined since early 2015 by a pair of shoulder surgeries and may be auditioning for a chance to join the Philadelphia rotation next year. He started against Oakland on Sept. 17 and pitched five innings, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks, with four strikeouts.

“I liked Alvarez,” Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said afterward. “I liked the movement on his pitches. From what I’ve seen, he’s got a lot of confidence. He made a couple mistakes, but in general, he looked pretty good.”

Alvarez broke into the major leagues with Toronto in 2011 and spent 2013-2015 with Miami. He has made 93 major-league starts and would give the Phillies a veteran to join ace Aaron Nola.

The Braves have had success against Alvarez over the years. The right-hander has made eight starts against Atlanta and has gone 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman is batting .333 (7-for-21) with three doubles and one homer against Alvarez.