LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It’s been an unsettling start to camp for the Braves bullpen, with both Craig Kimbrel and veteran Scott Proctor struggling in the Braves’ first two games. On Monday, it was a pair of veteran newcomers who had some shaky outings.
Scott Linebrink gave up three hits and hit a batter in a two-run third inning Monday. George Sherrill followed by loading the bases in the fourth inning before escaping on a double-play groundball.
Both relievers are trying to rebound from off years with their respective former teams – Linebrink, who had a 4.40 ERA last year with the White Sox and Sherrill, who had a 6.69 ERA with the Dodgers.
All of Linebrink’s damage came with two outs after he got two strikes on Michael Bourn. He lost a pitch, albeit a 95 mph one, for a ball, then hit Bourn trying to come inside.
Brett Wallace followed with a run-scoring single off the glove of second baseman Dan Uggla and then Carlos Lee came up with an RBI single on a pop-up on the infield. Shortstop Brandon Hicks had tripped on the mound trying to make the play.
“The linescore doesn’t dictate the way he pitched,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We had a knuckleball that Danny jumped for, a line drive by Wallace, and at the end it dropped out on him. And we messed up a fly ball on the infield. I thought he pitched well. Same thing with Sherrill.”
Sherrill gave up two singles and a walk but managed to escape any damage by getting Michael Bourn to hit into a double play. The left-handed Sherrill, who struggled last season against right-handers, ran into the same issue Monday, allowing two singles and a four-pitch walk to right-handed batters, but he got the left-handed Bourn to end the inning.
That was one of five double plays turned by the Braves, including a nifty turn in the ninth by minor league prospect Tyler Pastornicky.