Kimbrel enduring first blown saves as Braves closer

Somewhere on his alpaca farm in Charlottesville, Va. former Brave Billy Wagner is saying he knew there’d be days like this for Craig Kimbrel.

The Braves young closer is experiencing some of his first major league bumps in the road since taking over for Wagner. He blew his second save in his past four chances Friday night in an eventual 5-3 loss to the Cardinals.

In those two outings, Kimbrel committed the cardinal sin of allowing the leadoff man aboard – he put Jamey Carroll on with a leadoff walk April 21 in Los Angeles and Yadier Molina on with a leadoff single on Friday night.

Carroll took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single. Molina took third on a hit-and-run and scored on a sacrifice fly.

“Got to keep the leadoff runner off base, get that first out,” Kimbrel said. “It’s big.”

Kimbrel has been walking the fine line of not trying to walk the first hitter, and not trying to give him anything to hit either. After 32 appearances in the majors now – including 21 last year during four call-ups – veteran Chipper Jones thinks hitters are adjusting to him and come up looking for the fastball early in counts.

“They know he’s predominantly fastball and you’re seeing guys jump on it,” Jones said. “They know he’s going to be around the strike zone. He’s got to make the adjustment. He’s got to be able to keep guys off-balance (with sliders) because major league hitters can time a jet plane.”

Kimbrel has been a closer throughout his professional career, but he doesn’t have the experience of many blown saves to draw on; he blew only four saves in 55 chances in the minor leagues (three in Triple-A Gwinnett last year and one in rookie ball in Danville in 2008).

“I know it’s part of the game,” Kimbrel said Saturday morning. “I’m still not happy about it. I’m never going to be happy when I’m not successful. I know there’s always today and I can go out and do my job today.”

36 comments Add your comment


April 30th, 2011
3:01 pm

Hang in there Kid, you’ll be fine!


April 30th, 2011
3:22 pm

Hang in there Kimbrel your the man! Braves country is behind you!


April 30th, 2011
3:27 pm

Wow this team sucks…..

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp Co.

April 30th, 2011
3:29 pm

Playing listlessly today. Not much energy. I have not been to a game yet this year, (Wednesday Night a/g the brew crew will be my first) but we seem to be very uninspired.


April 30th, 2011
3:50 pm

Another bullpen melt down… Also McCann should take notes from the Cardinals back up catcher, that is how you knock in runs, since you seem to have forgotten how…. Mediocre team that will not make the playoffs. Frank wren puts together another team full of holes.

F me

April 30th, 2011
3:54 pm

So much for the back of the bullpen. Cards score all their runs after the 7th for the second straight game. Braves sinking further in the standings, further below .500 and further into obscurity and irrelevance.


April 30th, 2011
4:10 pm

Boooo all the way.. right now this team is too boring to even watch


April 30th, 2011
4:18 pm

Bad Saturday news. What’s this, three out of five blown saves for Kimbrel? We have enough things wrong with this team. Now we have a closer who can’t close. Things just keep getting better.


April 30th, 2011
4:20 pm

Boring? They are anything but boring bronkelliott. Look at the last week: roger mouths off, alred demonstrates his antics with dad and kids watching, lowe tries out the speedway (just forgot it was peachtree) while drunk, freddie gets kicked out today! A nuclear meltdown is never boring!


April 30th, 2011
4:26 pm

Freddi what are you doing. Throwing JV and Kimbrell on 12 hours rest. Is there something wrong with O’flarghty. Heck I’d rather see CM or Acensio in today.


April 30th, 2011
4:33 pm

Predict Sunday’s attendance and get a free dinner at Ted’s Montana Steakhouse. Courtesy of the bring back Ted Turner Movement. Mine is 10,000. No race tom.


April 30th, 2011
4:34 pm

You got me there 95wschamps. Too many distractions and now gutless baseball. Sorry but a long season wears you down and now bad baseball to go with it. Love the Braves but they need to right this ship asap….


April 30th, 2011
4:37 pm

bronkelliott … agreed. What started off as a great week as turned into a nightmare. Looks like they all need to refocus ASAP, before the season slips too far away. I don’t think they can compete for the division, but the wc is still always there

Cap tipper

April 30th, 2011
4:44 pm

Gotta tip my cap to that “great” bullpen. Isn’t that the way it was touted before the season started? Wagner left a bigger hole than most people thought.


April 30th, 2011
5:16 pm

This team sucks and the bullpen is the worst……really great job McDowell maybe you can find work picking up trash on the side of the road.


April 30th, 2011
5:22 pm

It’s not the pitcher’s fault. He can’t help it because he is on a team of overpaid, nonproducers, has beens, and never will be’s. To say the Braves suck is a great understatement. I wish they would simply dry up and blow away.

North Georgia Braves Fan

April 30th, 2011
5:41 pm

Billy Wagner………… HELP!!!

These Braves don't ROCK!!

April 30th, 2011
6:05 pm

Gotta feel sorry for Beachy. This guy has been lights out except for one start, and he has nothing to show for his efforts. Our young closers are a little inconsistent, but why does no one ever blog about how pathetic McLardAssCann is in late innings when the game is on the line with his passed balls. THis guy is a defensive liability behind he plate late in games. If the manager had any baseball sense at all, he would bench the lardass in the late innings, and bring in Ross. Ross is a much better defensive cathcer than this lazyass, and he never has passed balls. McCann can’t get his ass in front of any ball that is inside or outside, and he doesn’t have a clue on how to block a ball that is outside. Bottomline is the guy is out of shape, and he can’t move, which is a terrible thing for a catcher. THe young relievers need help from their catcher late in games, but they will never get it when lardass is in the game.


April 30th, 2011
6:18 pm

Come on guys, these are not bullpen meltdowns. These games happen over the course of a season. It was Beachy who tired and put the runners on base. Venters did what he always does, got strikeouts and ground balls and one happened to bleed through. Kimbrel is going through a rough patch for sure but it’s not like he’s hanging breaking balls and giving up 3 run walk-off bombs. He’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, better that this happen to him now and he can draw on it later in the season when it’s crunch time.

Blown Away

April 30th, 2011
7:41 pm

Another fine bullpen Frank Wren has put together! Not to mention the worst hitting lineup in the NL. This team is t4errible!!! What has Wren done sine he took over? Nothing!!!! FIRE HIM NOW!!!


April 30th, 2011
8:08 pm

Kimbrel is a serious step down from billy wagner…the whole team sucks….just tip the hat again huh boys? dang joke

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]


May 1st, 2011
12:30 am

they had a good road trip so now they come home and give away games. lose most of the close ones.
bullpen is inconsistent and offense is sporadic.
under .500 won’t win a wild card.
but Wren isn’t worried because he thinks everything is just fine and will magically work out..
he said he has enough money for his roster and will stick to this nonsense.


May 1st, 2011
12:36 am

Well he sure as hell blew another one today!!! So two blown saves AND a loss in 5 appearances!!! Maybe he’s not Mr. Unhittable like everyone crowned him earlier!!!!! He’s the reason were below .500 right now. Had he done his job we would be 15-13 not 13-15!!!!!!!!!!!!


May 1st, 2011
2:29 am

Kimbrel is a young pitcher who is still learning. What do people expect, for him to have an ERA of 0?? It is not like he is being paid 4 million a year. God forbid should he go down with an injury or something, we’d know right away what we had.

It was Venters who gave up the game-tying hit today, and we know he is still a darn-good pitcher. Keep tying your best, Kimmie! That’s all you can do!

steve whitmire

May 1st, 2011
5:30 am

THIS loss goes to our new manager Hothead Gonzalez. He should not have left Beachy in the game in the ninth. The kid was brilliant, no sense bringing him out in the ninth after eight drop dead lights out innings. I don’t blame Kimbrel for this one, he’s only human, but those two runs are on the head of the manager, who hopefully will be gone after this season. I agree with the comments about McCann. I’d bring Ross out in the late innings for his defense not to mention he’s a great hitter.

Cap tipper

May 1st, 2011
5:50 am

Mldtown: Kimmie? That sure strikes fear in the opponent’s heart. Pulease……..


May 1st, 2011
6:57 am

While youre disecting the closer, dont forget to put a large share of the blame on our wonderful new addition at second base. How many runs has he left stranded in scoring position this series (as well as others). He may hit eventually, but right now he plain stinks.


May 1st, 2011
9:46 am

Let’s see. It’s May. The season started a short month ago, and most of you are already writing this team off, despite the obvious talent that exists on this team. Are they slow coming out of the gate? Sure. But it’s May 1st! Now I know why our fans are considered a joke around the country.


May 1st, 2011
10:11 am

Somewhere between blown away and stuart you will find the real Braves. I hope we find them soon.


May 1st, 2011
11:11 am

This team sucks – from the Liberty management down to Fredi Gonzalez and his pitiful managerial staff…….not worth the price of a ticket or the bother to go see a bunch of “can’t get it done summer boys.”

Randal Patrick McMurphy

May 1st, 2011
12:29 pm

When do the games start to count? Sheez…


May 1st, 2011
12:52 pm

-Even Kimbtrel’s first few fast ball pitches are well below the 96/97/98 mph we are used to seeing- so when his sliders miss or Brian does not even call Slider , as Chipper said – major league Hitters can time a jet plane ( disagree when 97/98mph and up under the chin) – Kimmee is inexperienced and trying way too hard right now-let him relax-Chipper and Brian do not just stay put when these young Players need help-get to the mound and give them some encouragement


May 1st, 2011
1:30 pm

Most of you have not coached a team or had a time when it just wasn’t there. Give it time. This team is young. To me this great.

Chris Ernest

May 1st, 2011
1:37 pm

There is NOTHING wrong with Kimbrel. I hated Bobby as a manager for many reasons including the times he used the CLOSER in a tie ball game. Fredi Gonzalez does the same thing so I am begining not to like him either. These guys might know more about baseball than me but they apparently do not know sh*t about personalities and routines. Twice this week, Gonzalez put Kimbrel in a game that was tied and twice Kimbrel wasn’t himself. A closer is conditioned to go out and mow down the last three hitters of a game their team is leading. With a tie ballgame, the situations change and a Closer might be worried about a whole host of things that they wouldn’t be if they were actually doing their which is CLOSING! Kimbrel is fine if you let him do his job, Gonzalez is the one who is 0-2 this week.


May 1st, 2011
1:41 pm

Cap Tipper: With his rosy-cheek face, there’s no hope of ever intimidating the other guys. Might as well make him a femme fatale.

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