Shaky outings for new relievers Linebrink, Sherrill

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.

46 comments Add your comment

Frank's Wren

February 28th, 2011
6:54 pm

We’ll see how they manage in their next few outings.

Stuart

February 28th, 2011
6:57 pm

Hope they at least cut the ERA’s in half from last year…

Alaska Braves Fan

February 28th, 2011
6:58 pm

It’s very early. Old vets very often settle in as they go. Nice to see, though, that Lowe already seems to be settling, eh?

ABF

M. Slater

February 28th, 2011
7:01 pm

This is why we should have pushed forward for a better bullpen. Brian Fuentes and Bobby Jenks, just to name a couple, could have been HUGE. Oh well. Hope the bats keep up the fireworks!!!

FARMH0USE

February 28th, 2011
7:22 pm

If this were September I would be worried. However, since it’s only the 3rd game into spring ball I think we will be fine.

GT Alum

February 28th, 2011
7:28 pm

Sherrill’s the definition of a LOOGY. As long as Fredi uses him that way, he should be fine.

The Grinch

February 28th, 2011
7:37 pm

They’ll be fine. Veterans like these don’t go in trying to blow everyone away in meaningless games; they’re working on what they know they need to to be ready for the ones that count.

eric the elder

February 28th, 2011
7:48 pm

“The linescore doesn’t dictate the way he [Linebrink] pitched,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. … “I thought he pitched well. Same thing with Sherrill.”

This sounds a little Bobby-esque to me. But Fredi is smarter than I am.

jj

February 28th, 2011
7:56 pm

I was wondering what kind of chance does OF Ramirez have at earning a job with the Braves this year?I think the Braves got him from the Tigers.I believe we could use a righthanded bat in the of besides Prado.DOB,I thank you for your answer in advance.

Ken Stallings

February 28th, 2011
7:58 pm

Carroll, I think you really should emphasize more in these Grapefruit League columns that pitchers cannot be truly evaluated on results this early. Often they are deliberately working on pitches, trying to perfect them, and in so doing, going away from proven pitches.

This is the time to work out the kinks. So, while you are certainly reporting the facts, I just think you should focus on the truth that it does not matter at this time.

Mr. Enigma

February 28th, 2011
8:04 pm

M. Slater

Bobby Jenks signed for 1-year, $7 million. Brian Fuentes signed a 2-year, $10.5 million deal. After the Braves got Dan Uggla from the Marlins, they had barely $5 million to spend. They didn’t have the cheese to spent on high-priced relievers considering they had to rebuild their bench as well. They did the best they could. Sherrill is a low-risk at such a small salary. The White Sox are paying a huge part of Linebrink’s salary.

With that being said, I do believe this is going to be a weaker bullpen than the Braves have touted for the last 4 seasons. I don’t think it’ll be quite as awful as the 2006 bullpen (Chris Reitsma as the closer? What?), but it’s not going to be as dominant as it’s been. I hope Linebrink and Sherrill prove me wrong.

big o

February 28th, 2011
8:12 pm

Are you kidding me ? You cant get more dominant than Venters and Kimbrall last season no stats needed purist. Last I checked we still had them both. Linebrink and Sherill will match up great in late game situations they will only be asked to get one or two outs

stew

February 28th, 2011
8:18 pm

How can anyone think that Sherill isn’t a waste of time? His ERA last year was 6.69. He was throwing batting practice. This idea of a LOOGY is rediculous. Pay a guy 1.2 to get one guy out a game. Let’s say he gets the lefty out, would you dare leave him in to face a righty pinch hitter. He better have great breat breaking pitches, because I’m fairly certain he ain’t bringing any heat.

Chief-In-A-Coma

February 28th, 2011
8:29 pm

I think they should put Hinske in LF and Prado in CF. And McOut to pasture…

Chief-In-A-Coma

February 28th, 2011
8:31 pm

Linebrink & Sherrill should retire. They stole miilions when they signed contracts…

gcs

February 28th, 2011
10:18 pm

These guys (Proctor, Linebrink and Sherrill) are all 6+ ERA washed up bums. Nice job, Wren. I dub them Team Albatross.

Kick these losers to the curb!

.

tooslim73

February 28th, 2011
10:47 pm

Stew

?

“This idea of a LOOGY is rediculous.”

Man, where have you been?

Cheddar

February 28th, 2011
11:34 pm

Wow, after two Spring training games so many people are beating up the choices made to sign these guys. Give me a break, Spring training just started. If they are like that at they end, it is justified. Otherwise, shut your pie whole you fair weather no-it-all fans……

Innocent Bystander

March 1st, 2011
12:24 am

We got these guys for cheaper than the going rate, assuming we use them properly. These are both guys that we won’t use the same way they were used last season, particularly Sherrill. He’s a former closer, so I’m sure it was tempting for Torre to use him against rightys, but he’s strictly a LOOGY now.

The way I see it, Sherrill is taking over EOF’s place, EOF is taking over Venters’ place, and Venters/Kimbrel are taking over for Wagner. Linebrink is this year’s Saito.

MariettaDerek

March 1st, 2011
1:05 am

Their outings so far are unsettling. I really hope the bullpen for the Bravos this year gets DOUBLE PITS TO CHESTY with it!

braveshoo

March 1st, 2011
7:09 am

The bullpen will definitely be weaker this year than last year when it was our strongest area on the team, and that has nothing to do with ST results to date. The talented guys have less experience, and the experienced guys have less talent. The one pitcher I am most worried about is Scott Proctor. He has been injured in the past, but still has’t shown me anything. I think Beachy or Martinez or Marek should be given his spot in the pen.

Hooter Girl

March 1st, 2011
7:11 am

Derek, how about double loogies to the dipping sauce. Get out of here.

ramblingman

March 1st, 2011
8:06 am

Trying to balance out the goobers who come on here bashing.

The team is looking pretty good. Everyone made it through the first week without any minor or major injuries, and that is the penultimate goal of ST. People are beginning to get their rhythms going, and a couple have looked pretty good so far. Batters that we were worried about are taking good cuts. Pitchers are not experiencing pain.

All in all, a pretty good start. I still feel optimistic about this year, and even if I did not, I would still be excited, because Baseball is back.

Go Braves

NateTHEGreat!

March 1st, 2011
8:32 am

“I think they should put Hinske in LF and Prado in CF. And McOut to pasture…”

Why not wait until…. you know… he DOESN’T go 2 for 2 with a double, a stolen base, 2 walks, 3 runs, 2 RBIs before saying we should “put him to pasture?” Carrol said that he also beamed a throw in with the bases loaded to prevent a sac fly.

And yeah, lets put our first time LF Prado into Center… I’m sure that will work out great.

bbkorbel

March 1st, 2011
8:43 am

DOUBLE PITS TO CHESTY??????? I missed that memo! What the heck does that mean???

Jack

March 1st, 2011
9:00 am

It’s the first week of spring training. So what if they were a little shaky; I will be concerned if it continues throughout spring training and especially the last week. Until then, I’m just happy the real games start in about a month. Go Braves!!!

this, says Yoda

March 1st, 2011
9:16 am

eric @7:48……….With your statement, I totally agree.

reckingball

March 1st, 2011
9:19 am

Why are there so many negative people on these blogs?
It’s Spring Training.
Go Braves!

ramblingman

March 1st, 2011
9:30 am

bbkorbel, please don’t feed the trolls. LOL. There was no memo, it was an ill-advised attempt at altering urban lingo that died years ago.

Go Braves

bbkorbel

March 1st, 2011
9:46 am

I Googled it & now have a vague idea and you are right RamblingMan…not worth the trouble!

Brian

March 1st, 2011
9:53 am

First two games in pre season practice games and some loonies are already writing the Braves, and some players, off. That is just plain dumb.

Bubba

March 1st, 2011
10:03 am

It would take an unbeaten pre season and season record with the pitchers striking out 27 batters per game and all Brave batters hitting at least two homers per game to make some people think the team is good enough to have a chance to make the playoffs. That ain’t real thinking and they are not real baseball fans..

Gil In Mechanicsville

March 1st, 2011
10:27 am

I don’t know Bubba, who might be a real baseball fan? Perhaps you should rephrase that opine with baseball fans who have a clue and those who root for the Yankees because they like front runners….

Sort of like saying real bloggers live in their mom’s basements.. Oh, wait….

Gil In Mechanicsville

March 1st, 2011
10:28 am

But I get your drift and you are correct in that the “half full” folks are abound here.

Billmelater

March 1st, 2011
10:30 am

Schafer get another start, 3 out of 4. Can’t say he’s not getting royal treatment over Young and others.

ramblingman

March 1st, 2011
10:44 am

I read Bubba’s comments and got a different reading from yours, Gil, unless I am reading yours wrong. It seems to me he is talking about the “glass is half empty” crowd, not the “half full” crowd. However, I go further and consider them to be the “glass is never full, it’s always empty” crowd.

That being said, I agree with his conclusion (as I read it) that 162-0 would be the only record that would cause some on here to finally say something good about the Braves. Hmm, maybe that should be 173-0, since they would have to win playoff games and the WS too.

Quicherbichin

March 1st, 2011
11:04 am

Bubba and ramblingman…I totally agree with you… And we haven’t even seen Mitchell and Robert… Just wait until they show up…. Then there won’t even be a glass to be empty….

Poorbrave

March 1st, 2011
11:06 am

Agree ramblingman……….So far great ST and Nate is even looking good. Braves have alot going this year.

Dean

March 1st, 2011
11:30 am

It’s still very, very early. Takes some time to settle in. Give em time and they will be fine.

Braves82

March 1st, 2011
12:03 pm

Why do I feel I loose IQ points every time I read the comments on a blog here. I guess I will never learn.

AdirondackDave

March 1st, 2011
12:46 pm

Amazing how many bloggers think they know more than the Braves execs and field managers. Just amazing..

Chuck

March 1st, 2011
12:51 pm

Nice to see McLouth have a good beginning – and Schafer is looking good also. What will we do with Prado? :-) Maybe he can move to the bullpen and play catcher on his off days. Has Mather shown up to Spring Training yet? I haven’t heard his name mentioned. It would be interesting to see how the locker room reacts when Kawakami shows up.

ramblingman

March 1st, 2011
1:18 pm

Mather has been there in camp, played in the games, been involved in several plays, and been mentioned multiple times.

Chuck

March 1st, 2011
1:26 pm

I just see the write-ups… He hasn’t been a focus like the other guys, but will be important to the team, as he is penciled in as the fourth outfielder – which means starter when Chipper is out. Hinske will be out there also, but Mather is the better fielder, and Hinske has gotten plenty of ink with his bat so far.

ramblingman

March 1st, 2011
10:32 pm

He’s not necessarily penciled in as the fourth outfielder. There’s Schafer and Hinske.

So, if you have seen the write-ups, then I guess you knew he had shown up in camp.

Braves4Life

March 2nd, 2011
9:07 am

Eric O’F, Moylan, Venters, Kimbrel can get us through the 6th,7th,8th and 9th on a regular basis. Sherill and Linebrink are both veterans who could help this young staff. They also could handle the load when this lineup is blowing people out of the water on a nightly basis.

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