Time for Venters to close? And what of Linebrink?

While waiting for news on Jason Heyward’s MRI, let’s kick around a couple of other subjects on the minds of many Brave fans.

Beginning with, how much longer can the Braves keep running Scott Linebrink out there, and at what point do they have to consider having Jonny Venters at least split the closer duties, if not swap roles with Craig Kimbrel?

Venters (left) has continued his dominance in second season in majors, whileveteran Linbrink (right) has struggled mightily.

Venters (left) has continued his dominance in second season in majors, whileveteran Linebrink (right) has struggled mightily.

First, Linebrink. He gave up four runs in the 11th inning of Wednesday night’s dispiriting 7-3 loss to the Nationals, which left Linebrink with a 7.50 ERA and .346 opponents’ average for the season.

Lefties are hitting .333 with a .400 OBP against him, and righties are torching him at a .353/.405 clip and .794 slugging percentage.

Linebrink has a 12.60 ERA and .480 opponents’ average in his past eight appearances, allowing 12 hits, seven earned runs and two homers in five innings.

In close-and-late situations, he’s allowed a .450 average (9-for-20) with two homers, nine RBIs and an .850 slugging percentage.

And all this is from a guy whose 17 appearances are tied for third-most on the team, behind only the 20 appearances each from Venters (0.87 ERA) and lefty Eric O’Flaherty (0.96).

Linebrink has given up three homers in 12 innings, half of the bullpen’s total in 111-2/3 innings (the other three came off Cristhian Martinez, who has otherwise been effective).

The Braves traded for the 34-year-old Linebrink in part for his steady-veteran leadership, and in that area he has been exactly what they sought. He’s a great guy and a good sounding board and influence for the younger relievers.

But they also got him because they believed he still had good stuff last season with the White Sox, when he posted an unimpressive 4.40 ERA, but did have 52 strikeouts with 17 walks in 57-1/3 innings.

The stuff has not looked good lately, and his performance has declined sharply. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s used in the next week or two, assuming he’s healthy and no move is made.

Without DL’d Peter Moylan, the Braves have had to rely more on others when the starter doesn’t get them through six or seven innings. O’Flaherty has responded brilliantly, but the same can’t be said for Linebrink.

♣ Now, perhaps the bigger bullpen topic for discussion: Kimbrel or Venters?

Kimbrel blew his third save in 11 opportunities last night when he entered in the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead and gave up two runs on three hits and a walk.

It was only after the Nationals tied it that Kimbrel became the dominant strikeout machine we saw so much in the past, fanning the last two guys in the inning, including Jayson Werth.

The damage had been done, and the Braves’ bullpen couldn’t hold in extra innings long enough for the hitters to scratch out another run.

Is it time for Venters (left) and Kimbrel (right) to swap roles? Should the two split closer duties? Or should Kimbrel continue as full-time closer?

Is it time for Venters (left) and Kimbrel (right) to swap roles? Should the two split closer duties? Or should Kimbrel continue as full-time closer?

Here’s the thing about Kimbrel: He’s got elite-closer stuff, no question about that. And he’s likely your long-term closer. So do you react differently with that in mind, maybe not make a role change as quickly as you might otherwise, thinking about his confidence with one eye on the future?

Or do you say, hey, Craig, you’re our guy, but for now we’ve got to go with Jonny in this role, simply because he’s been dominant and we’ve got to do whatever it takes to win now, including going with the hot hand in the closer role?

Kimbrel was otherwordly in his first 27 major-league appearances, posting a 0.27 ERA and .132 opponents’ average with 50 strikeouts and 17 walks in 26-2/3 innings during that stretch that included 21 appearances last season and his first six this season, through April 16. He allowed just one earned run and 12 hits and converted 5-of-5 saves.

In 11 appearances since, Kimbrel is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA, .225 opponents’ average, three blown saves in seven opportunities, and and 15 strikeouts with seven walks, nine hits and five runs allowed in 10-2/3 innings.

His two earned runs allowed last night were half of his previous career total.

In his past seven appearances, he has a 5.68 ERA and .296 opponents’ average, with eight hits, four runs and five walks allowed in 6-1/3 innings (and 11 strikeouts).

Meanwhile, Venters continues to put up jaw-dropping stats even better than his stellar rookie season. He has allowed nine hits, five walks, two runs and no homers with 20 strikeouts in 20-2/3 innings.

His .134 opponents’ average is fourth-best among NL relievers, and his 6.1 runners per nine innings is third-best.

He has held lefty hitters to a .105 average, .190 OBP and .105 slugging percentage, and righties are hitting .146/.196/.208 against him.

And here’s where an argument can really be made that Venters should be closing:

In close-and-late situations, he has a .114 opponents’ average (5-for-44) with no extra-base hits, a .188 OBP and .114 slugging, compared to Kimbrel’s .250/.311/.300.

(O’Flaherty, by the way, has the most at-bats faced in those situations and has posted a .184/.259/.245 line in close-and-late situations.)

Etc.

Eric Hinske is 8-for-16 with seven RBIs in May, and 6-for-10 with three homers and five RBIs in his past five games…. Freddie Freeman is 5-for-29 (.172) with RISP and 2-for-23 in close-and-late situations…. Derek Lowe, who is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his past three starts against the Nationals, will face Jordan Zimmermann tonight in the series finale, when the Braves will try to avoid an embarrassing sweep against the team that has inexplicable success against them. Lowe won’t face the DL’d Ryan Zimmerman, who is 14-for-46 with two homers against him.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Prado LF
  2. McLouth CF
  3. Chipper 3B
  4. McCann C
  5. Uggla 2B
  6. Hinske RF
  7. Freeman 1B
  8. Gonzalez SS
  9. Lowe RHP

♣ OK, gotta keep it short today. Out of time. We’ll close with a song for all those poor folks who are struggling with flooding in the Mississippi Delta region. It’s bad and only getting worse. Here’s one of the pioneering musical giants from that home of the Delta Blues, Big Joe Williams, and you can hear the song by clicking here.

0014162f_medium

“BABY PLEASE DON’T GO” by Big Joe Williams

Baby please don’t go,
Baby please don’t go,
Baby please don’t go,
Down to New Orleans
You know I love you so,
Baby please don’t go.

Baby your mind done gone,
Well your mind done gone,
Well your mind done gone,
Left the county farm,
You had the shackles on.
Baby please don’t go.

For be a dog,
For be a dog,
For be a dog,
To git you way down here,
I make you walk the log.
Baby please don’t go.

Baby please don’t go,
Baby please don’t go,
Baby please don’t go,
Down to New Orleans,
You know I love you so.
Baby please don’t go.

For be a dog,
For be a dog,
For be a dog,
Git you way down here,
Make you walk the log.
Baby please don’t go.

‘now how I feel right now,
My baby leavin’,
On that midnight train,
And I’m cryin’.

Baby please don’t go,
Baby please don’t go,
Baby please don’t go,
Down to New Orleans,
You know I love you so.
Baby please don’t go.

For be a dog,
For be a dog,
For be a dog,
To git you way down here.
I make you walk the log.
Baby please don’t go, yeah.

Awright

By David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,721 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly

May 12th, 2011
2:59 pm

Mountain Top!

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:05 pm

Snotboogie

May 12th, 2011
3:05 pm

I’m beginning to think that’s the only photo we have of Linebrink (him running wind sprints with Venters from early in ST).

Did the last blog end with Shaun trying to explain stuff to Ward?

ncscoots

May 12th, 2011
3:07 pm

I’m beginning to think that’s the only photo we have of Linebrink

Probably one too many.

Gil In Mechanicsville

May 12th, 2011
3:07 pm

Not first but a good average….

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:08 pm

Bravos need to swallow their pride and get rid of Linebrink. That money is sunk and I’d rather re-sign Jo Jo Reyes and watch him pitch an inning then sit through another Linebrink nightmare.

Honest

May 12th, 2011
3:09 pm

Venters is nearly untouchable, and a bit more mature … so why not?

Linebrink has to go … or just not be used, except as a spare bullpen coach.

Why leave Sherill in for only ONE OUT and then try to get multiple innings out of Linebrink? I blame Freddi for that one.

Fish Bisch

May 12th, 2011
3:11 pm

The Nationals own us :(

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:11 pm

No no, no no. Venters needs to be our lock-down 8th inning guy. Kimbrell has closer stuff and he is doing some “on the job” training right now. He’s young and these blown saves will teach him a lot.

Don’t give up hope on Kimbrell- he’ll be fine.

Big Jake

May 12th, 2011
3:11 pm

because Sherrill is being used only against lefties, he is very poor against righties.
Those two together are limiting what can be done with the pen
They should drop both of them and bring up someone from AAA. Linebrink especially.

Murph

May 12th, 2011
3:12 pm

I promise to be more positive in this blog that I was in yesterday’s.

So…. ummmmm…

Anders

May 12th, 2011
3:12 pm

Perhaps the league is just getting a book on your young phenoms there in the back of the bullpen? This game is all about players making constant adjustments. Maybe it’s tme for the youngsters to make some.

Time will tell.

flange1

May 12th, 2011
3:13 pm

Hey Fisch, say it twice, it might help!

Big Jake

May 12th, 2011
3:13 pm

It is all Bobby’s fault for allowing it to happen Bisch

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:13 pm

Honest – I see your point – However I think Venters is better where he is. He’ll see a lot more innings as a setup/middle-relief guy than he would as a closer. I think Kimbrel has just had some horrible luck. Last night was one of the luckiest come from behind wins I’ve ever seen. Guys were closing their eyes and swinging and someone those soft hit balls found holes. His stuff was really good. Heck, had the ball not skipped off second base they never would’ve scored 2 runs off that single and we may have won.

I don’t think Kimbrel is pitching poorly I think he’s just been the victim of some VERY lucky hitting.

Mitchell

May 12th, 2011
3:13 pm

You know, on the bright side of the Roger McDowell debacle is the Will Ferrell Daily Show interview from the other night where he came out with a bat and, well, just watch…

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-may-10-2011/will-ferrell

Hilarious.

Shaun

May 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

Here’s an idea: Use Kimbrel in situations late and close situations when the opposing team has their best hitters due up and when those hitters are mostly right-handed. Use Venters in similar situations when most of the hitters are left-handed. Also take into account which pitcher needs rest, etc.

Ignore the BS about who is the “closer” and ignore whether you are getting pitchers save opportunities. Worry more about when you need to get outs and less about making sure you have a pitcher or two racking up all your saves.

Baseball is about trying to win the game. Using relievers should be about using your best to increase your chances to win. It’s not about trying to make sure your players rack up numbers in a particular statistical category.

AtlantaDude

May 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

Definitely need to switch to Venters or got to a shared role a la Sparky Lyle / Goose Gossage. Kimbrell has not had the job long enough to have any claim to it. Better to let them both know early on that it is going to be a rotating, go-with-the-hot-hand type assignment.

This decision will be a good early indicator if Gonzalez will deviate, in a much needed way, from Bobby’s over-loyal, “let Kelly Johnson strike out 100 times” approach.

Jimmy

May 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

Venters or Kimbrel? After last night, and looking at the numbers, the real question is: “Why is there a question”?

Arkansas Transplant

May 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

Peace, Murph

Big Jake

May 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

So far Venters is not having any problems Anders, and I think Kimbrel’s biggest problem is lack of command.

Versiroth

May 12th, 2011
3:15 pm

My one problem with Venters closing is that the closer seems to be used more sparingly than the other relievers. I want Venters available for whatever situation in the 7th or 8th. I’d give Kimbrel more time. Atleast 5 or 6 more opportunities.

Also, Linbrink is trash. Release him and call up Juan Abreu or Jairo Asencio.

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:16 pm

Venters- 8th inning lock-down guy.
Kimbrell- Closer, no debate on this.
Sherrill and Linebrink need to go.
Bring Proctor up now.

We’re going to end up dealing an arm (Minor is suspect) and we can lump Sherrill in on the deal for a plus OF’er and middle reliever.

timthebrave

May 12th, 2011
3:16 pm

Is Linebrink really making 5.5 million????

Hinske Da Man

May 12th, 2011
3:17 pm

I wish there was a everyday spot available for Hinske, that dude is a gamer all the way and exactly the presence a team needs in their clubhouse, dugout, and on the field. All he does is produce when asked to go out there. Maybe next year we can put Hinske in LF, Prado or Heyward in CF, and the other in RF. We need more pop in our lineup and Hinske is Da Man.

Now on to the closers role. Venters and O’Flaherty deserve a shot at closing plain and simple. Numbers don’t lie, and those two give the Braves the best chance to win in the 9th period. When you have a 2-3 run lead in the 9th, you expect to win. Kimbrel has now blown 3 saves in 11 tries and that is not getting the job done. How many more games do the Braves need to lose while having a lead in the 9th to make Fredi Gonzalez make the switch? Its time, do it now while we are still within range.

Anders

May 12th, 2011
3:18 pm

Anybody got Wagners phone number? You know, just in case these kids don’t slide into that role as easily as was presumed.

Ian

May 12th, 2011
3:18 pm

I think Kimbrel or Venters could be star closers in this league and i’m glad we have both of them. I say swap spots for a while if it doesn’t work out with Venters we can always switch it back.. With Linbrink i say a trip to Gwinnett or Mississippi is in order and possibly bring up Proctor or Asencio.

Bat Masterson

May 12th, 2011
3:18 pm

DOB_

This might be more in keeping with the blog mood today, re R L Burnside

http://youtu.be/jhKqqYuV9MU

Big Jake

May 12th, 2011
3:21 pm

All he does is produce when asked to go out there. Maybe next year we can put Hinske in LF, Prado or Heyward in CF, and the other in RF. We need more pop in our lineup and Hinske is Da Man

Hinske has not played regularly in 7 years or so because like last season when he is asked to play every day his numbers drop a good bit.
He is perfect for what and where he is right now. Good leadership and great bench and fill in player

Snotboogie

May 12th, 2011
3:21 pm

Anybody got Wagners phone number? You know, just in case these kids don’t slide into that role as easily as was presumed.

Thanks man. What would we do without you?

Wat

May 12th, 2011
3:22 pm

Let’s get Kevin Gregg in here. Big contract, but he’s the kind of righty we need coming out of the pen.

He’s expensive, but if we’re willing to take on the cash i’d bet the Orioles would deal him for non-elite prospects. He is rumored to be on the trading block

i’d also love to see what brett gardner could do in a braves uni.

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:22 pm

The sky is falling, the sky is falling…

The guy blows a few saves EARLY in the season and almost everyone panics. The guys is VERY young and still learning. These games will only make him stronger mentally.

There are so many GREAT pitchers who had rough starts to their careers who went on to have great success.

Kimbrell will be a good closer for us- I’d rather him have a few hiccups early on than when in the heat of a pennant race.

wjones

May 12th, 2011
3:22 pm

“BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:08 pm

Bravos need to swallow their pride and get rid of Linebrink. That money is sunk and I’d rather re-sign Jo Jo Reyes and watch him pitch an inning then sit through another Linebrink nightmare.”

Maybe you can. He apparently is in Toronto’s rotation now, with an 0-3 record in 7 starts. His ERA is 5.00. He has pitched 36 innings in those starts. 45 hits allowed, 4 homers, 13 walks, and 21 k’s. A .262 ba against, and a 1.48 WHIP. I’dl give Topronto a call today.

Big Jake

May 12th, 2011
3:22 pm

Well I have to get ready for work and go fight crime.
Good luck later today.

Paul H

May 12th, 2011
3:23 pm

Switch em. Venters is too good right now. And blowing a 2 run lead in the 9th is inexcusable.

ChoppertoChipper

May 12th, 2011
3:23 pm

Three weeks ago I thought Venters should be the closer. Kimbrell’s fastball is fast but on TV looks to have no movement.

Linebrink was bad in spring training and those games did not count. I think his days are over as far as being effective.

Fish Bisch

May 12th, 2011
3:23 pm

Dan Kolb > Lostbrink

TennesseePaul

May 12th, 2011
3:24 pm

Thanks for the work DOB.

And yes, Venters is the best arm in the pen. Has been for quite some time. Kimbrel is solid as well, but Venters is better.

Wardo

May 12th, 2011
3:24 pm

Linebrink should get his pink walking papers ASAP! This old man needs to move onto his next endeavor. As far as the closer goes, the Braves can NOT afford to blow 9th inning leads. With that being said, Venters is the man for the job. What if Venters is the long term answer in the closer position? That’s not such a bad idea. I don’t believe that we should get too down on Kimbrel. He is very young and is still learning his way but his control must improve. Walks are totally unacceptable from the closer. Concentrate on throwing strikes and force the opponents to put the ball in play. I also like what I am seeing from Gearrin. He should be able to pick up the Linebrink slack and be quite the improvement. Go Braves!!

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:25 pm

I think Linebrink has the stuff to dominate. Give him a chance. He’s only been around for how many years people? Gosh! He’s a proven vetran who knows how to get big leaguers out. I trust the vet!

Kimbrel HAS to keep running out there to close. How else will he learn? Patience is a virtue! Just tip your cap to crafty vets like Stairs and Cora last night. They beat Kimbrel and the team. So what! You can’t be a sore loser. Tip your caps and move on. I love Fredi’s positive attitude!

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:25 pm

Kimbrel is young enough to pitch the 8th. Mariano pitched the 8th for Wetteland and look where that seasoning got him. Kimbrel already had some control concerns going into this. Fredi seems a lot more wishy washy with the mouth than Cox ever did. They will both close! Kimbrel will close! We are still going to run Kimbrel out and see what happens! Venters is closing! Why all the drama? He should have stuck with his original gut and let the hot hand close. When Kimbrel is on, he has the stuff and the makeup. I’m not worried about him long term. He just needs to get his walk rate down and trust his stuff, which comes with experience.

Tony

May 12th, 2011
3:26 pm

Now is not the time to put Venters in the closer’s role. The time was at THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON! That Kimbell and bits dude needs to earn his way into the role, not have it given to him. It seems to me that Venters won the role from his performance last year.

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:26 pm

wjones – you’re right, those numbers are awful… but still better than Liney’s touchdown-like ERA.

Puma

May 12th, 2011
3:27 pm

I think doing a little more split duties as discussed in ST is the way to go, just look at the Righty Lefty matchups and go with the appropriate guy. Kimbrel obviously has the pitches to be awesome, but maybe give him a little adjustment period. Thing is, he hasn’t been awful, he’s no Dan Kolb, so even if they stick with him, we are still going to be OK.

You can give up just as many runs in the 8th as in the 9th

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

Closer is overrated anyhow. 2 on nobody out in the 7th of a 2-2 game is a closer situation to me.

Braveone

May 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

From the previous blog which had 1,792 comments, Tomahawkin led the way with 85 posts. There were 224 different poster names. Here are the Top 25:

Rank Poster Frequency

1 Tomahawkin 85
2 Tom O’Hawke 72
3 cabravesfan 61
4 Arkansas Transplant 56
5 phil 53
6 nolie 51
7 Lew 43
8 Murph 39
9 Ward 35
10 Shaun 34
11 JasonInFL 33
12 Dumbfound 31
13 David O’Brien 30
14 Gil In Mechanicsville 30
15 bravesgrl4life 29
16 TnBrian 26
17 Moe Berg 25
18 Brave4life-1995 all over again? 23
19 Snotboogie 22
20 Braves Rule 21
21 The Grinch 21
22 Venice Jim 21
23 raleighbravefan 21
24 Bat Masterson 20
25 DAP 20

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

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:28 pm

Wardo – come on! Venters is the set-up guy, Kimy is the dang closer! And Gearrin doesn’t have nearly the experience as Mr. Linebrink. Trust the vets over rooks!

ncscoots

May 12th, 2011
3:29 pm

I say swap spots for a while if it doesn’t work out with Venters we can always switch it back..

How long to see if it “works out”? If a ten-game stretch of less-than-perfect results is enough to kick Kimbrel to the curb, does that mean Venters gets the same leash?

Shaun

May 12th, 2011
3:29 pm

This idea that relievers have to be tied to very specific roles is the most ridiculous part of baseball right now. Most major league relief pitchers should be able to and probably can come in in any situation, in any inning, and get a few outs. This idea that a manager has to name a “closer” and a “set-up” man makes baseball less enjoyable and overall competitive than it would be otherwise.

Now for the smug sarcasm:

Yes, just what we all want to see: If Rasmus, Pujols, Holliday and Berkman are due up in the 7th or 8th inning of a tie game or with the Cardinals down by a run, we all want to see the opposing team’s 2nd or 3rd best reliever come into the game. We don’t want to see a team’s best reliever facing the Cardinals’ best hitters. That would just make the game way less interesting and less competitive.

We would rather see the best pitcher come in an inning or two later when the team has possibly blown the game. Or we would rather see the best pitcher saved for getting three outs in the ninth, when his team already has a lead and possibly when a weaker part of the lineup is due up.

We just don’t want to see the best reliever face the best hitters with the game on the line. We’d rather see a guy rack up a statistic than see the best against the best.

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:29 pm

Trusting vets over rooks would have Venters closing? No?

Fish Bisch

May 12th, 2011
3:30 pm

I say Cheryl for Closer. Stretch Kimbrell out to be a starter. Venters can be long releif.

Ed Glennon

May 12th, 2011
3:30 pm

Can Hinske pitch? We could put him on the mound after he hits a home run.

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:31 pm

Chimp Caray – I LOVE your attitude! Say Kimbrel struggles as closer much of the season – so what. Let him learn and go get ‘em next year when he’s more experienced and battle tested. I can wait another year or two to be serious competeters. It’s okay! We’re a young team for the most part and not on the level the Phillies are at and the Marlins for that matter. We’ll get there in due time, folks!

tmc

May 12th, 2011
3:31 pm

thanks Mitchell- That was great!

Nothing personal against Linebrink, but he gotta go!
It’s at the point where even the other team knows that he can’t get them out.

David O'Brien

May 12th, 2011
3:32 pm

Braves lineup: 1. Prado LF, 2. McLouth CF, 3. Jones 3B, 4. McCann C, 5. Uggla 2B, 6. Hinske RF, 7. Freeman 1B, 8. Gonzalez SS, 9. Lowe P

ncscoots

May 12th, 2011
3:32 pm

We just don’t want to see the best reliever face the best hitters with the game on the line. We’d rather see a guy rack up a statistic than see the best against the best.

Man, when you get a bee in your bonnet, it’s a whole frickin’ hive, isn’t it?

skep

May 12th, 2011
3:32 pm

I like the idea of not having Kimbrel or Venters as the set closer. Use Venters in some games. He seems to get both lefties and righties out with no problem. Maybe Kimbrel needs more innings and not sitting for so many games between opportunities.

Hinske needs more playing time. Heyward for such a young guy is turning out to be injury prone and too inconsistent at the plate. Too many grounders to second or strikeouts.

Don’t tell me Linebrink is being paid 5.5 million. How many of these multi- million dollar deals are we going to continue making for no talent. Look at the Marllins with their payroll. Let’s hire their GM.

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:33 pm

This would be my lineup:

1. Hinske 1b
2. Hinske 2b
3. Hinske SS
4. Hinske 3b
5. Hinske RF
6. Hinske CF
7. Prado LF
8. McCann C
9. Hinske P

closer: Hinske

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:33 pm

Ah… McLouth is back in the 2-hole!

DOB – Any word on Heyward yet?

Wardo

May 12th, 2011
3:33 pm

Marve – What imagination you have. What in the world makes you believe that an old man coming off a 4.40 era last year who now possesses an era of 7.00 plus can get anyone out down the stretch? If the braves follow your advice..there won’t be any stretch. The Braves need to win each and every game possible. We are not good enough to flush a few down the toilet just to give ol’ Linebrink some work. If you can’t do your job you should get fired. Linebrink is no execption to this rule.

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:34 pm

count_schemula – ha ha! The Skipper and the Braves top people obvious want Kimbrel in the closer role. I trust their judgements. Not bloggers!

TennesseePaul

May 12th, 2011
3:35 pm

scoots: This is a blog idea, so all leashes are short and made of razor wire. But I’m not sold on Kimbrel as closer. He’s got great stuff, his command still doesn’t seem to be there. I like Venters and O’Flaherty in their current role, but I’m not sure of anyone else in that pen who I’d trust a 1, 2 or 3 run lead with in the 9th. Shah-real, no. Linebrink, no. Martinez, no. Is there anyone else? Not really. I could see Wren swinging a deal for an arm, or maybe calling up a Minor leaguer for a shot…

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:36 pm

Yeah, I don’t know why we are fans or bloggers. Total masturbatory waste of time.

Anders

May 12th, 2011
3:36 pm

TP- K-Rod could probably be had. Swap closers? {:

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:36 pm

Let’s trade Liney and get some OF backup help with some SPEED. We may be the slowest team since… well… ever…

Coop

May 12th, 2011
3:36 pm

I wouldn’t do anything to hurt Kimbrel’s confidence at this point. If he’s handling this dip okay mentally I’d leave him alone. If he seems to be struggling with his confidence and you think a little time away from the spotlight will help get that confidence back then switch he and Venters.

Mitchell

May 12th, 2011
3:37 pm

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:22 pm

The sky is falling, the sky is falling…

Why do some people have to keep saying that?

That is easily the most irritating of all the often repeated catch phrases of the blog.

People have a right to be concerned about Kimbrel’s performance and the Braves chronically unfocused style of play.

But nobody’s saying the sky is falling. Except for you, of course.

TennesseePaul

May 12th, 2011
3:37 pm

Man, when you get a bee in your bonnet, it’s a whole frickin’ hive, isn’t it?

He is trying to stir up the nest. I’d weigh in but honestly, that conversation got old real fast last month.

NorCal Brave

May 12th, 2011
3:38 pm

Tough call on the closer role: Venters looks like the smarter choice, depending on what the switch might do to Kimbrel’s confidence. Craig keeps referring to his lack of command; maybe let him pitch in less stressful innings to work it out.
The comment that jumped out at me in the blog was about the Braves’ inability to scratch out a run late in the game, an ongoing frustration. This team’s success still all depends on the starting pitching, the offense remains spotty at best. P.S. Sounds like Linebrink would make a great pitching coach.

TennesseePaul

May 12th, 2011
3:38 pm

Anders, K-Rod is in the perfect place for K-Rod. I wouldn’t want him in any other place. I’m hoping that option vests as well. Would love to see that guy in Flushings for as long as possible.

Rameses

May 12th, 2011
3:38 pm

Kimbrel is the closer. Enough said….. The man takes a 4 game break from being superman and the “experts” want to throw him under the bus and blown the bullpen up. What a joke. When October comes and we battling the phillies in the playoffs, kimbrel will be a BIG reason why.

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:39 pm

Anders – K-Rod is a vet! I’d go with the vet in a heartbeat over Kimbrel. Venters I don’t think so because he’s almost too good, but Kimbrel for K-Rod I’d do it. Trust the vets!

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:39 pm

Old Man Marve-

I think you hit the nail on the head with your last comment. The kid has got to learn and learn by experience. He’ll be stonger because of these early struggles.

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:39 pm

Rameses – I agree with you. He’s looked really good. Victim of some LUCKY hitting last night. Talk about bad luck.

Does anyone else cringe when Jayson Werth comes up to the plate? He looks so cocky up there, it’s just annoying to watch.

Anders

May 12th, 2011
3:40 pm

Marve- Take a look at K-Rods contract. Then get back to us.

TennesseePaul

May 12th, 2011
3:40 pm

The comment that jumped out at me in the blog was about the Braves’ inability to scratch out a run late in the game

I’d put that with simply, scratch out a run. I’d like to see this team be the only team not going hit-less through the first 5 or 6 innings on a regular basis. But then, I’d also like to see Chipper hitting closer to his career numbers as well. I know he’s older now, but I still think he can do it. I keep looking to see if he has gotten his seasonal numbers back up to .300/.400/.550…

iTiSi

May 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

Leave CK alone he will be O.K. I remember JV going thru some rought spots last year also. Pitchers are just like hitters (look at JH right now) they have some downs as well as ups. BTW, am I the only one who thinks a woman pumping gas in high heels is sexy? My girlfriend thinks that’s a little weird. ??????????????

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

Marve-

Gotta disagree with this comment-

“K-Rod is a vet! I’d go with the vet in a heartbeat over Kimbrel. Venters I don’t think so because he’s almost too good, but Kimbrel for K-Rod I’d do it. Trust the vets!”

No way I’d ever let K- lightning rod on my team.

MikeInFl

May 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

because Sherrill is being used only against lefties, he is very poor against righties. . . Those two together are limiting what can be done with the pen . . . They should drop both of them and bring up someone from AAA. Linebrink especially.

I guess Sherrill and Linebrink are destined to be discussed like they were one pitcher.

Sherrill has faced almost as many rh batters as left (14 vs 18) and has been just as effective against rh batters (.496 OPS vs .485). He’s done a very good job.

Not saying he should be thrown out there in all situations- he’s certainly best used as a loogy or low-leverage guy – but really no reason to rag on him.

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:42 pm

I really like Jaun Pierre for leadoff. The guy’s been around a while, a vet, and the Braves could swap a couple young pups to get this guy. You all want to win now then you go with experience. You don’t want to wait around for a winner, yet you all have no patience with the kids. Can’t have things both ways. Kids take time to develope. Needs vets!

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:43 pm

I don’t think it’s a confidence issue. Kimbrel knows he has the goods. It’s an execution thing. That’s why Fredi should NOT have left his gut notion of Venters/Kimbrel. If you can’t take him out of the 9th role because someone might cry, then you have handicapped yourself. He did not have a lot of minor league experience anyhow. He got fast tracked because his stuff is that good. But… he has 37IP and 24BB. Experience fixes that.

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:43 pm

I wish we still have Gregor Blanco on our team. We gave him away for nothing! He’s a gamer, not a star, but a gamer and plays great D.

BravesFan in DC

May 12th, 2011
3:43 pm

I miss Kris Medlen.

cricket

May 12th, 2011
3:44 pm

Kimbrel -
SV BS
8 3

Kevin Gregg -
SV BS
7 2 2011
129 30 Career

Come on Wren, get him before he blows his next save.

Snotboogie

May 12th, 2011
3:44 pm

Is McLouth’s nickname in the club Yo-yo?
You send him down the order – gains momentum – climbs back up and …..

flange1

May 12th, 2011
3:44 pm

I wonder if the Braves would give R Lopez or Mike Minor a shot in the bullpen?

MikeInFl

May 12th, 2011
3:44 pm

I just didn’t like the idea of anointing a rookie pitcher as Closer. Knowing that almost all rookies still have a little learning to do and will likely struggle at some point, it just sets you up to have to “demote” the guy.

Would be so much better to not designate any player as a closer (unless you’ve got a Riviera who’s almost got it written into his contract), and just manage the game based on who’s best for a given situation.

jeffrey d

May 12th, 2011
3:45 pm

Yeah, I don’t know why we are fans or bloggers

…I don’t get it.

Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:45 pm

Chimp Caray – EXACTLY! I’m willing to wait for a winner! I only mention getting a vet like Pierre because I know you win with experience, not developing boys. However, we will not stay up with the Phillies and the Marlins seem to have some real magic going. It’s okay, I’ve learned patience over the years.

Rameses

May 12th, 2011
3:46 pm

K Rod….. REALLY??!!! Put down the pipe Anders lol NO WAY THAT FAIRY TALE DEAL IS EVEN CONSIDERED BY FRONT OFFICE. Yeah let’s panic over a couple games! Let’s give the mutts a 9th inning stopper to shut us down for the next 10 years…… Not to mention Mr domestic violence makes around 15 million a year which is more than our whole pen. YOU ARE A TOOL ANDERS

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:47 pm

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/riverma01.shtml

Weird. Rivera was not the closer his rookie year. Stupid Yankees braintrust.

bravesgrl4life

May 12th, 2011
3:47 pm

Said it on the last blog: I’m all for a switch right now. We can’t let the Nats sweep us tonight. Not with Philly coming in tomorrow.

jeffrey d

May 12th, 2011
3:47 pm

Gregor Blanco couldn’t make the Royals roster. He’s currently hitting under .200 in the Minors.

bschro3000

May 12th, 2011
3:47 pm

With the strikeout totals Minor has put up … i wouldn’t mind seeing him pitch in the bullpen and help out in the 7th or 8th … better than him pissing away good starts in the minors.

tmc

May 12th, 2011
3:47 pm

i’d like to see the Braves move quickly on the Linebrink situation.
at the very least bring up someone from gwinnett and send him down.
waiting isn’t going to change things for the better. Linebrink can only hurt the bullpen and blow even more games moving forward.

Cause everyone knows when you have a weakness, it will get exploited.

count_schemula

May 12th, 2011
3:47 pm

Minor will get traded eventually if Beachy keeps it up. Minor could start for a lot of teams and we still have Teheran.

Chip Caray Blogging ......

May 12th, 2011
3:48 pm

Anybody have a weed-eater? Need to trim these eyebrows up a tad for the show tonight

wjones

May 12th, 2011
3:48 pm

“Old Man Marve

May 12th, 2011
3:39 pm

Anders – K-Rod is a vet! I’d go with the vet in a heartbeat over Kimbrel. Venters I don’t think so because he’s almost too good, but Kimbrel for K-Rod I’d do it. Trust the vets!”

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Thank God I know that Wren would not do that. Now, JS—another story.

Chimp Carey

May 12th, 2011
3:48 pm

Glad I could irritate you, Mitchell.

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