Wagner gets last four outs to prolong his career, Braves season

Down to the last four outs of Sunday’s game, and perhaps not only the career of manager Bobby Cox but retiring closer Billy Wagner, nobody wanted the ball more.

For the first time all season, Wagner came in the game with more than three outs to get. He made it interesting – giving up three runs on back-to-back RBI hits in the eighth – but he made it last.

Wagner struck out the last four hitters he faced, including the side in order in the ninth looking, when any one swing could have meant at least a tie game.

Wagner got his 37th save of the season in the 8-7 win. Afterward he handed the ball to Cox. They both could have another day.

“Don’t think that didn’t run through my head out there,” Wagner said when asked about the possibility of throwing the last pitches of his career. “You screw this up and go home and always be a goat. I was happy to go out there and compete and make some pitches and have another day to go out there and sweat.”

He struggled to command his fastball at first. “The ball wanted to cut and run,” he said. But by the ninth, he figured out how to use the late afternoon shadows to his advantage. Wagner got ahead of each of the three hitters, and struck them all out looking at his slider.

“They could see the fastball but they couldn’t see spin of the breaking ball,” Wagner said. “The only thing I had to do was execute throwing it for a strike.”

Wagner threw 21 pitches in the eighth inning after getting Raul Ibanez to strike out for the third out. That was only 11 shy of his season-high. But there was no doubt he was going back out for the ninth, especially considering he’d had three days’ rest.

“You would have been getting a new manager,” Cox said. “I would have been dead if I had told him he wasn’t going back out there.”

Wagner laughed when told about Cox’s estimation.

“I probably didn’t do a good job,” Wagner said. “I probably won’t ever get back in there now.”

He’d inherited only seven runners all season, but he had two on the corners waiting for him in the eighth. But Wagner relished the chance to go “long.”

“That’s the closer’s job,” Wagner said. “That’s my situation.”

But he couldn’t resist another self-effacing jab: “You know what, it’s probably a good situation that we had a big enough lead that I couldn’t screw it up too bad.”

47 comments Add your comment

penelope

October 3rd, 2010
6:19 pm

bravesfannnnnn

October 3rd, 2010
6:35 pm

JEJEEJE IM READ A COMMENTS TO 1 DAY A GO AND ATLANTA FANS(FROM ATLANTA CITY) ARE SO STUPID BECAUSE ONE DAY LOVES CONRAD AND ANOTHER HATE HIM

AND TODAY WHAT????????? CONRAD MAKE 2 HITS AND 2 RBI’s AND SCORED 1 …..

I AM ATLANTA BRAVES FAN TOO BUT NO FROM ATLANTA CITY IM FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY AND LOVES THIS TEAM SINCE 1995-1996 IM START WATCHING FOR TBS THE GAMES AND LOVING THIS TEAM ..IM FEEL EVERY WIN AND EVERY LOSE ALL SEASONS
AND EVERY YEAR IM STILL HERE SUPPORTING MY TEAM !!!!!!! :D

COME ONNNNN PEOPLEEEEEE …SUPPORT THE BRAVES!!!!!!!!! IM STILL BELIEVE IN 2010
LETS GOOOOOO BRAVESSSSSSSSSS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

old timer

October 3rd, 2010
6:38 pm

So we open against the Giants. I was thinking the Reds had the better record. Let’s go get them!

TampaGator

October 3rd, 2010
6:42 pm

To one, Billy Wagner:

I sure was nice to have you pitch for the Braves and us, Braves fans, this year….I only remember two games where you weren’t lights out. As a certain hall of fame relief pitcher….enjoy your retirement….hopefully after a long playoff run in your final year.

The_Superhoo

October 3rd, 2010
7:12 pm

BRAVES GOING TO THE POSTSEASON!!!!!

Booby Cocks

October 3rd, 2010
7:12 pm

Padres lose 3-0! Braves are in the postseason!

old timer

October 3rd, 2010
7:13 pm

We are going to need some breaks to go all the way, but if any team is due for some breaks in the postseason, it would be the Braves. After reading the SI story on Wagner, you just want it even more.

usnavyvolfaninva

October 3rd, 2010
7:17 pm

GIANTS WIN!!! BRAVES BACK IN PLAYOFFS!!! SUCK IT, HATERS!!!

LuisG - Win-it-4Chipper-&-theFans

October 3rd, 2010
7:19 pm

Braves get the Wild Card!!!

LuisG - Win-it-4Chipper-&-theFans

October 3rd, 2010
7:20 pm

Braves Win the Wild Card!!!

Jimmy Beam, you are my friend

October 3rd, 2010
7:21 pm

Woohoo! Time for a big fat beverage!

hAL

October 3rd, 2010
7:25 pm

hmm whsat were the comments when wren sighned billy wags is he a freaking idiot i rember two yeears for a 40 yo washed up hack well the washed up hack returns the bravos to the post season wrens baseball iq ovwe 200 this blogs below 10 lol

hAL

October 3rd, 2010
7:26 pm

actually this blogs has no baseall iq at all its dead and buuried along with its fsaavorite son lol

tom

October 3rd, 2010
7:27 pm

time for mass quantities of beer

TTTT-Thumbody Thed Thats Thupid

October 3rd, 2010
7:31 pm

In reading this article one would never even know that BC brought Venters in to start the 8th, even though everyone knew he was already “out of gas” his last few starts. Meanwhile, Kimbrel is sitting on the bench. Cox came close to blowing it, yet these sportswriters are afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions. A lot of us, based on the comments, would sure like to know why he has no trust in Kimbrel, even though he has 38 strikeouts in 20 innings.

MWC

October 3rd, 2010
7:36 pm

hAL,
I hope your not driving.

Booby Cocks

October 3rd, 2010
7:39 pm

TTTT, Kimbrel is a rookie and I would not have put him in that situation either. You have to go with the big horses in a situation like this and I’m glad they pulled it out.

Dawgdad (The Original)

October 3rd, 2010
7:44 pm

Hey Booby, Venters is a rookie!

Rhino

October 3rd, 2010
7:51 pm

scariest inning in a long time. I’m glad the bullpen will get a couple days rest! It’ll be the first time since March for Venters lol

http://www.rhinorant.com

Panhandle Joe

October 3rd, 2010
8:04 pm

I’d like to see hAL text while he’s driving. Do phones have translators?

Sons of Rick Matula

October 3rd, 2010
8:16 pm

Congrats to a gritty bunch who overcame a lot – not the least of which was a talent shortfall.

Stanley Crowe

October 3rd, 2010
8:17 pm

Was it ever in doubt???

Seriously, I think we have a better chance against the Giants than against Phils or Reds. I anticipate a well-pitched low-scoring series, and that should suit us as well as the Giants. I can’t see us being blown out in any single game. I hope the guys can relax a bit now. The season’s already a success, especially given our injuries and our patchwork lineups. So get out there and have fun!! Congratulations to all!

http://www.alhrabosky.com/

October 3rd, 2010
8:18 pm

Wagner was wrong. You can create a save for yourself.

Martin Prado

October 3rd, 2010
8:23 pm

If Cox would have put Infante at third all along I still would be playing right now.

BeerDawg

October 3rd, 2010
8:33 pm

I agree. The Braves have already accomplished their goal for this year. They’re playing with house money now. No one will give them a chance, and why should they? Chipper out, Prado out, Jurrjens out, their best player is a 20 year old. Pressure is off. Just go play and have fun!!!

Wasn’t it just a few years ago when the Cardinals won the whole thing after winning only 85 games in regular season? Anything’s possible….

Keith

October 3rd, 2010
8:35 pm

Very fitting for a team that led the majors with 25 Last AB wins to wait till the LAST DAY and barely hold on for the win 8-7! :)

Could this year have been any more dramatic?

Terrible April. 9-game losing streak.

Incredibly hot May led by Troy Glaus who comes out of nowhere to lead the NL in RBI into Juneish.

Hot till the AS break ending with series wins on the road vs Mets and Phillies.

Later a 9-game winning streak.

Builds to a 7-game lead in the division.

Lead the Division for 90+ days…

Lose HOF 3rd basemen. Lose “luckiest” pitcher in Medlen. Lose our other All-star (backup) 3b. Pitching becomes inconsistent in Sept.

Played average in August and not very good in September.

Sweep the Mets, get swept by Phillies, sweep the Marlins, barely win 1 game vs the Phillies with the playoff berth on the line.

Bobby Cox for Manager of the year!!! :)

Ugapip

October 3rd, 2010
8:39 pm

Already purchased my home post season tickets. Go Braves. Can’t wait!! Since by Bulldogs are down, it’s great to have the Braves back in the playoffs.

Mutts

October 3rd, 2010
9:12 pm

What the 2010 Braves lacked in talent, they more than made up for in heart. GO BRAVES!

kaminari

October 3rd, 2010
9:58 pm

We’re back!! Go BRAVES!!

Jughead Obama

October 3rd, 2010
10:34 pm

Bobby Cox for NOT Manager of NEXT year!!!
FTFY.

NCBRAVESFAN

October 4th, 2010
2:01 am

This group is a bunch of ballplayers, Congrats boys, I knew all along you guys would pull through, somehow, someway…

STOMP THE GIANTS!!!

STYLIN

October 4th, 2010
8:17 am

As one who has been so critical of the Brave the last couple days, this morning I salute them. I also salute the fans who brought back memories of the early 90’s with their raucous tomahawk waving frenzy. The fans were there Sunday despite two gut wrenching losses Friday and Saturday. Way to go fans! The Braves needed you and you were there! And as I posted earlier, and supported by other bloggers, moving the Raw Dog to second was meaningful. Sure, he mad an error but his mental state had to elevate getting away from third. And also despite an error, Infante filled in at third admirably. And last but not least, I also pleaded to have Matty D in the line-up for his fire and determination. It paid off. Please keep him in the lineup through the playoffs and keep an uninspired, could not care less MEEKLY on the bench where he s deserves to be. With a little luck he won’t be wearing a Braves uniform next season.
WAY TO BRAVES! Let’s kick @$$ in the playoffs!!!!!

Ren

October 4th, 2010
8:36 am

Hey…I’m not going to rain on anyone’s parade down there.
If I were in the shoes of an Atlantan, today i would be just happy to make the playoffs too.
But…you DO know—-Wagner stunk yesterday. He was personally responsible for 3 runs, with 2 outs. AND,his last 2 outs were against left handed backups for the Phils, cause they used every player already, getting ready for their next WS run.
My point is—what you saw in the 8th inning….is, Wagner-ville.
He was run out of 2 cities up here…and I think, run out of Houston also…tho I’m not sure he was hated as much for his, Wagner-ville breakdowns, as in Philly and NY.
He was personally responsible for both teams, (Philly and NY), NOT getting into the playoffs. He almost did it again. he TRIED to in fact. It was just lucky for him, 3 of his last 4 batters were left handed, and 2 of them, scrubs. In a real game, at 8-7, and the Phils actually caring about the win—he faces GOOD right handed batters that would have clubbed him.
He’s the same ol’ Wagner.
There is no doubt in my mind—he will cost you a close game or 2 in the playoffs.

Here’s something for you guys to look forward to….

You will hear all about it when the matchup happens.

Wagner’s knees shake so much, they clank together when—Pat Burrell hits against him.

Bad, BAD memories in Wagner-ville when thinking of Pat the Bat.

Good Luck tho.

Ren

Jeff

October 4th, 2010
8:37 am

I hear ya Stylin! I, too, have been very critical of the Braves as of late but must now congratulate them and their fans this weekend..a record weekend at Turner Field and I don’t think the Braves could have won without their support. They certainly made it a little too interesting yesterday but thank’s to Billy Wagner were able to close out the mighty Phillies who will probably end up winning the world series again. This is a very good sendoff for Bobby Cox, who despite his struggles in the post season, will go down as one of the best managers of all time-at least in the regular season!

Dawg Fud

October 4th, 2010
9:00 am

Atta boy, Braves!

knarf

October 4th, 2010
9:22 am

Ren,

saying you’re “not going to rain on anyone’s parade down there,” and then tying to do exactly that is just what I expect from a Philly fan… Wags has been awesome for us this year, can’t ask for much more. Yes, yesterday was a bit shaky, but we came out on top, we’re in the playoffs, and a whole new season begins now. And with our starting pitching, I expect we’ll see some wins out of this ragtag bunch… will it be enough to advance in the playoffs, I’m not sure, but it’s been one hell of a ride for a team that most expected little out of at the beginning of the season.

here’s to hoping they continue to prove the doubters wrong in the postseason… CONGRATS on winning the Wild Card, Bravos!

Quicherbichin

October 4th, 2010
9:23 am

Ren- I think that a few 97 mph fastballs near the noggin of Mr. Burrell will change him from Pat the Bat to Pat Who Sh*t ( his britches). In case you haven’t noticed it, every closer blows a few, including Mariano Rivera, who is probably the best pitcher in the history of baseball, stat-wise. Perhaps you should go back to the Jim Rome show where talking smack is well received.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

October 4th, 2010
9:24 am

All true baseball fans understand the large market bias of the HOF voters. While we have many meritorious recent candidates who performed admirably for the Braves – Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Justice, McGriff, Gallaraga, Jones and Jones, and now Wagner, plus Messrs. Cox and Mazzone – the case of Dale Murphy suggests that Maddux and Cox may be the only ones who will make it.

Murph won multiple gold gloves and All Star appearances, hit approx 400 home runs, won the MVP twice, and has never gotten close to HOF admission. That’s what happens to nice guys. Who among our recent candidates can present such a record of dominance, other than Maddux and Cox?

knarf

October 4th, 2010
9:32 am

Ragnar,

Glavine, Smoltzie and Chip…no doubters…

other than that though, I tend to agree with your sentiment… though I also think it will be hard to keep Cox out…

Ragnar Danneskjöld

October 4th, 2010
9:35 am

Hope you are right knarf, but I am more optimistic about our chances of winning the WS in 2010.

Blondie

October 4th, 2010
10:15 am

I feel sorry for all the poor deluded Atlanta fans that actually think that the Braves will make it past the first round of the playoffs. I feel even more sorry for all the fans that have forgotten all the ridiculous post season mistakes Cox has made over two decades – costing them several championships. The only reason they won in 95, is because they had a murderer’s row pitching staff that Cox couldn’t possibly screw up with.

Thank you for finally retiring, Bobby. It’s time to get someone who coaches with intelligence. Not someone who leaves a pitcher in so they allow eight runs to score – or someone who takes out a pitcher that’s throwing a shut-out, to put in someone who gives up four runs, when you’re trying to make the playoffs. It’s either idiocy or he doesn’t care about winning.

Lobosolo

October 4th, 2010
10:33 am

Blondie, go soak your hoo-hah… what you don’t know about baseball is a LOT…

Mike Lum

October 4th, 2010
11:16 am

Let me get this straight, all of the professionals in MLB think Bobby Cox is one of the best managers in baseball and a certain HOF. The pinheads on this site keep putting him down. It just goes to show how much some of the alleged Braves fans know about baseball. No wonder the press outside of Atlanta keeps bad mouthing fans in this area.

Ren

October 4th, 2010
12:27 pm

Quiche—Maybe you’re right. Maybe some chin music will help. Maybe not. I’m just letting you know, if that matchup ever comes up—-watch out………….Ren……….Ps–I did not think I was talking, “smack”. Was not my intention

Blondie

October 4th, 2010
1:12 pm

@Lobosolo – I played the sport for the better part of my life and watch baseball every week. I know exactly what I’m talking about. But, the proof is in the pudding – 25 years, only one championship. He couldn’t even repeat when Ted Turner was paying to stack the team with all-stars. Stop drinking the Kool-aid.

Why is it that people in this town will call for a coach’s head after 3 disappointing seasons (Mark Richt) – but they stand up for a coach like Cox and his unwavering hubris for decades? You know who actually are good coaches? Joe Torre and Tony Larussa.

Keith

October 4th, 2010
2:42 pm

Re: Mike Lum

People got spoiled getting to the postseason. Made them blind to the fact of the reality of the situation…that Bobby was helping players perform even better than they could normally.

GO BRAVES! :)

retiredMLscout

October 4th, 2010
3:17 pm

Blondie, you turkey…you never played the sport or you would know that Bobby Cox, Torre, etc are MANAGERS, not coaches. You also display your total ignorance of the game when you insinuate that Cox, first ballot hall-of-famer, 4th most wins in baseball history, and this year, winning 91 games with this collection of players, is not a good manager. I suppose if you managed (or coached as you like to put it)the Braves would have won about 130 games with about a 30 game lead over the Phils. Yep, it is very evident you are a real baseball man.

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