Medlen is stretched out: now what?

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.)

Update: Braves have optioned Cory Gearrin to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled RHP Anthony Varvaro.

So Kris Medlen has thrown his three starts in Triple-A Gwinnett. He’s stretched out to 97 pitches, after throwing six innings last night in Pawtucket. He gave up three runs on six hits, including a home run, and four walks. He went 97 pitches (56 strikes).

He is 0-2 with a 4.73 ERA in Gwinnett. He gave up only one run for the first six innings last night, and perhaps when he was starting to tire a bit in the seventh, gave up a single and a two-run homer to former Gwinnett Brave Mauro Gomez.

Medlen pitched six innings last night in Gwinnett

Medlen pitched six innings last night in Gwinnett

It’s pretty clear now, especially after three straight losses, that the Braves could use him back, and my guess is it won’t be long. The question now is in what capacity?

Based on the past three games, it’s almost as if the Braves could use Medlen’s help in relief again. Both Randall Delgado and Mike Minor have pitched pretty well of late – and last night Minor put up maybe his best major league start yet against a lethal Yankees lineup and should have had the win, after shutting them out for 7 1/3 innings before getting charged with a run when the runner he left for Jonny Venters scored in the six-run eighth.

Delgado is two starts removed from dominating the Marlins for 6 1/3 innings, allowing only two hits and a run. Then on Monday night, without his best stuff, and feeling the rush of pitching against the Yankees in front of 40,000 plus, Delgado did well to limit the damage to three runs in five innings. The Braves have listed Delgado as their scheduled starter to pitch Sunday against the Orioles.

So Minor in his past two starts: 1-0, 1.46 ERA, two earned runs in 12 1/3 innings, nine hits, one homer, six walks, eighth strikeouts and a .200 opponents’ batting average.

Delgado in his past two starts: 1-1, 3.18 ERA, four earned runs in 11 1/3 innings, seven hits, one homer, seven walks, 12 strikeouts, .171 opponents’ batting average.

So between those two, who would you send down?

You don’t want to move Delgado or Minor into the bullpen. You’d rather have them continue to stay in starting mode so you can have them as insurance if there’s an injury or Tim Hudson (ankle) or Brandon Beachy (elbow) needs to skip a start.

Then you consider that the Braves bullpen is short right now. Manager Fredi Gonzalez revealed last night that Eric O’Flaherty has been dealing with some elbow soreness, which is why he couldn’t go to him in the eighth, and he is probably unavailable for a few more days.

So maybe it makes the most sense to plug Medlen back in the bullpen, at least for the short term. But then haven’t you wasted the past 15 days?

So what do you do?

It’s a tough decision with no overwhelming answer and probably why Gonzalez didn’t have one last night. “We can talk about that tomorrow,” he said. “Let’s not take anything away from Mikey (Minor) today. He did a terrific job.”

As to whether Medlen could return in either role, starter or reliever, Gonzalez said: “We haven’t even discussed that (yet).”

Perhaps we’ll get a little more clarity on that front later this afternoon.

Bullpen watch

ARod's 23rd career grand slam ties Lou Gehrig

ARod's 23rd career grand slam ties Lou Gehrig

As for clarity on last night’s loss, that could be harder to come by. Giving up a 4-0 lead with five outs to go to the Yankees and watching Alex Rodriguez hit a grand slam home run off Venters was stunning. Don’t think there’s any question that was the toughest loss of the year for the Braves and worse than any of the eighth in a row during the recent losing streak.

You know the folks I thought about? The Braves fans in attendance at Turner Field, who bought tickets and showed up to cheer on their team and were surrounded by louder Yankee fans, who were going nuts at the time. They weren’t the ones who let the place get overrun with Yankee fans. They showed up.

Anyway, I digress. Venters is still obviously struggling to find some comfort with his pitches, and while he’d been better of late, he hadn’t been in that big of a pickle since maybe the week before in Washington, and he gave up a run on that day in relief of Beachy, on June 2.

We now know that O’Flaherty wasn’t available either way to come on and face Alex Gonzalez. As for Craig Kimbrel, and bringing him on early in the eighth, it seems that’s just a route that the Braves haven’t gone with him, especially considering how big of a goal it was this season not to overwork the back end of the bullpen.

As DOB pointed out on twitter today, Kimbrel has made 123 career appearances and only twice has he gone more than one inning – one of those was a blown save on April 21, 2011 vs. the Dodgers. The other time was June 15, 2010 against Tampa while Billy Wagner was the Braves closer.

And Kimbrel is not a Mariano Rivera-type, who can get groundball outs with one or two pitches. Kimbrel is a high strikeout, high-pitch count reliever.

The other option instead of Cory Gearrin was Chad Durbin. He’s the more veteran guy and had been pitching well – he’s made 15 straight scoreless appearances – but he had pitched the previous two days and four of the previous five.

Regardless, Venters didn’t get it done, questions abound, and the Braves are back to four games behind the Nationals now, as far back as they’ve been since May 28 after their eighth straight loss.

So the Braves turn to their stopper of recent years and ace Tim Hudson.

Hudson vs. Kuroda.

If there’s anybody on the Braves staff who won’t get freaked out by facing the Yankees, this would be your guy. Hudson has faced the Yankees 10 times in his career, nine times in his years with Oakland. He’s 1-3 but with a 3.78 ERA against them.

Hudson pitched a complete game last Tuesday in Miami

Hudson pitched a complete game last Tuesday in Miami

He lost to the Yankees the last time he faced them in 2006 (five runs in five innings on June 26 in New York), in the midst of the worst season of his career (13-12, 4.86 ERA). But that was only the third time he pitched fewer than seven innings in those 10 starts against the Yankees.

Hudson takes the mound tonight on seven day’s rest, pitching for the first time since his complete game shutout June 5 against the Miami Marlins. And if you saw him hobbling to first base on his single in the ninth inning that night, and wondered if 36 was looking a little old these days, we now know that he was running on a gimpy wheel.

Some chronic bone spurs in his left ankle flared up and Hudson admits now to pitching that game on smoke-and-mirrors. He’s hopeful that a week of rest, a cortisone shot and anti-inflammatory dose pack will have him back where he needs to be.

Based on how Hudson was talking after his bullpen session on Monday, he won’t be 100 percent. He was using words like “good enough.” But he is a good deal better than when coming off his St. Louis start.

He’ll face Hiroki Kuroda, the former Dodger, who is 5-6 but leads the Yankees staff in ERA at 3.46. The 37-year-old shutout the Mets for seven innings in his last start and has allowed only two runs in 22 innings over his past three starts. The Yankees have scored only six runs combined in his past five losses.

Kuroda has had some hard luck against the Braves too, going 1-4 in five starts despite a 2.10 ERA. He pitched a one-hit shutout against them on July 7, 2008 to get his only win.

A spot of good news, and other stuff

Hey, surely you could use some. And that would be with Brian McCann, who said two nights ago he’d made a mechanical adjustment, and he’s been all over the ball the past two nights. He crushed three balls on Monday night, to the track in center, nearly over the wall in right, and up the first base line and caught by Mark Teixeira.

Then last night he doubled twice off the lefty C.C. Sabathia. By my math, that was McCann’s first game with multiple extra-base hits since April 13 when he doubled and homered against Randy Wolf and the Milwaukee Brewers.

McCann is not big into telling us what his adjustments are; he gets squeamish about delving into specifics. But he reminded of that “In My Own Words” segment he did, where he talks about when he and his dad worked on something when he was in Single-A Rome, and he said “I’m about to get hot.” It’s like he knew. So maybe this is one of those times.

Couple other tidbits, last night the Braves passed the 62-game mark, which means there are only 100 more regular season games where we’ll have a chance to see Chipper Jones out there at third base. Something to think about.

Also, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told MLB Network radio today that he thinks Chase Utley will return July 2, 3, or 4. The Braves play at Philadelphia on July 6, 7 and 8.

Lineup

1. Bourn 8

2.Prado 7

3. McCann 2

4. Uggla 4

5. Jones 5

6. Heyward 9

7. Hinske 3

8. Simmons 6

9. Hudson 1

2,521 comments Add your comment

David

June 13th, 2012
2:37 pm

It’s obvious we need bullpen help more than anything right now. And if one of our starters starts to falter again, let Medlen take over.

TennesseePaul

June 13th, 2012
2:41 pm

Thanks for the work CR.

GO BRAVES!!

chipl1960

June 13th, 2012
2:41 pm

hey am i first?

chipl1960

June 13th, 2012
2:42 pm

just like the Braves. Never first.

Duke

June 13th, 2012
2:42 pm

Excellent work Carroll. I don’t think you defer from the plan. Medlen still needs to start and he will replace either Minor or Delgado. What if Huddy hurts himself further tonight and what if Beachy’s elbow is worse than he is letting on? You can’t send Medlen back to the pen after taking two weeks to get stretched out. He needs to be in the rotation. We need to solidify that first and then the bullpen will fall into place. We need Moylan back in the worst way and perhaps that is the area we seek in a trade.

Murph

June 13th, 2012
2:42 pm

This blog needs some lyrics… for some reason, this song reminds me of Fredi and his approach to his players. Enjoy.

Didn’t I See You Cryin’ – Cheap Trick

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m begging you to beg me

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes
Put on a brand-new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me

Didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying
Feeling all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m begging you to beg me

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes
Put on a brand-new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
If you say that you love me

Didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying
Feeling all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying

Feeling all alone without a friend
You know you feel like dying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I
Didn’t I see you crying

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m begging you to beg me

I want you to want me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me

Mcflange1

June 13th, 2012
2:44 pm

Thanks for the new blog CR!

Ease

June 13th, 2012
2:44 pm

I happen to like this blog today. Read it all the way through.

You get an A- Carroll…

Shaun

June 13th, 2012
2:44 pm

We now know that O’Flaherty wasn’t available either way to come on and face Alex Gonzalez. As for Craig Kimbrel, and bringing him on early in the eighth, it seems that’s just a route that the Braves haven’t gone with him, especially considering how big of a goal it was this season not to overwork the back end of the bullpen.

It’s possible for someone else to come on in a save situation, unless Kimbrel gets out of the inning in three pitches or something. There is no rule that Kimbrel has to remain in there for the save nor is there one that says Kimbrel is the only reliever that can pick up saves.

Pete*

June 13th, 2012
2:46 pm

Shaun: “But many teams accept losing so long as their closer is available for save opportunities.”

Sounds amazing, but true. I recall when John Smoltz was our closer in the playoffs, and him watching a small lead evaporate in 7 or 8th inning and being really upset that Cox wouldnt bring him in. Points out how ridiculous the “save” stat really is, because in effect it “prevents” a manager from using him until there is a “save situation.” All you need to know to prove how useless it really is is that a few years back, a pitcher actually was awarded a save when the Rangers won 30-3 over the Orioles.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

June 13th, 2012
2:47 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers!…Time to kick some Yankee butt!…

he said “I’m about to get hot.” It’s like he knew. So maybe this is one of those times.

HOPE SO!! :D Just hope we don’t get a play-at-the-plate with Swisher or something…

B_F 52

June 13th, 2012
2:48 pm

blah blah Medlen blah blah bullpen

Couch Potato

June 13th, 2012
2:48 pm

Love watching the game on TV, especially when the team inevitably folds. The Yankee fans wouldn’t be so bad if the Braves could beat their team. They’ve shown they can’t.

Dawg Fud

June 13th, 2012
2:48 pm

A game like that you don’t mess around. Kimbrel can get you 5 outs. Make the exception.

Venters is Mark Wohlers and it stinks. But Fredi needs to assert himself and win that game for us…instead of hoping we don’t lose it.

I was there and it was the worst loss I have ever experienced at Turner. It opened the wonds of ‘96. Just plain awful.

Bat Masterson

June 13th, 2012
2:49 pm

Thanks, Carroll.

Good luck managing the Braves tonight. You’re gonna need it.

Murph

June 13th, 2012
2:50 pm

I completely agree with Shaun on this one… use Kimbrel to get out the big bats in the 8th… if he can go out and pitch the 9th, then great. If not, then use Durbin.

I like Kimbrel vs ARod/Cano a lot more than I like anyone else in that situation. If you’re Fredi and you’ve already decided to go to the pen, then bring out your best to face their best. Don’t screw around.

The W was more important than the Save, and I reckon if you ask Kimbrel, he’d say the same thing. Better to get the win than to try and get him another +1 in the save column.

ryan

June 13th, 2012
2:53 pm

6 man rotation?

Arkansas Transplant

June 13th, 2012
2:55 pm

Murph, how crazy is that that we both agree with Shaun on that? I won’t have been against using Kimbrel to get through the 8th when oviously Venters was struggling and then if need be pitching someone else to close things.

ByteMe

June 13th, 2012
2:55 pm

The 15 days with Medlen in the minors is already sunk, don’t compound the loss by making it worse.

Bring Medlen back for short and middle relief.

Leave Gearen here for now to help with short relief.

Send Venters down to figure out the problem with his slider and work his way back without the pressure. His fastball seemed fine, but his slider is falling several feet short, so he likely has the wrong release point for some reason.

Pete*

June 13th, 2012
2:56 pm

CR: “As DOB pointed out on twitter today, Kimbrel has made 123 career appearances and only twice has he gone more than one inning – one of those was a blown save on April 21, 2011 vs. the Dodgers.”

CR and DOB with all due respect, who said he had to go more than 1 inning? Allow him the opportunity (with 2 men on, lets say) to put out the fire NOW, get the Braves to the 9th with a 4 or 3 or whatever run lead, and Ill take my chances with someone protecting that lead. I know theres no guarantee he would have protected that lead, but if Im going down in that kind of game, I want to go down with my best having a chance to end it.

the truth...

June 13th, 2012
2:56 pm

@Shaun……

Amen to that……….or as Fredi says…..”Good for you”….”Good for him”…..or anyway…..”Good for somebody”……”run him back out there…”…..get him going…”"”"”

Isn’t it amazing that folks can ‘t seem to understand that Kimbrel could have just pitched the last two outs of the inning and sat down……..then let the Martinez’s, Gurerin’s, etc deal with the rest of the order in the ninth……….

GoBraves

June 13th, 2012
2:57 pm

Murph, the last thing this blog needs is lyrics. I relish it when DOB has a day off. It means we can a story that doesn’t end like a cheap college newspaper. Who cares what music he listens to? And frankly, most lyrics are terribly poetry when you take away the music.
Thanks Carol for just sticking with the Braves. Let’s beat those Yanks tonight!

Jimmy Crack

June 13th, 2012
2:58 pm

Nice article. Still no change in my disgust at Fredi in the decision-making department. I heard all of Fredi’s answers…this guy had this and that guy had that…blah, blah, blah. I am in customer service and I know that there are excuses for everything that happens in this world, but most of those excuses are crap.

the truth...

June 13th, 2012
2:59 pm

…whoever goes down when Medlen comes up…..WHOEVER !!!

please take Livan with you……I know he won’t go to Gwinnett….just take him somewhere please.

Ease

June 13th, 2012
2:59 pm

“I’m about to get hot.”

Maybe it could mean that the evenings are going to get muggier…

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

June 13th, 2012
3:01 pm

Ease

Yer so funny… :roll:

Turtsnap

June 13th, 2012
3:01 pm

Why pay money to see this team? Why do the fans continue to get bashed, when the team isn’t worth spending money on? It costs a family of four over $100 just in tickets alone

Ease

June 13th, 2012
3:02 pm

I think in this oneinstance, most are in agreement with Shaun…

But just because one pig sprouted wings, doesn’t mean there is an evolutionary change coming…

Ease

June 13th, 2012
3:02 pm

So McFann, you only like the burger and donut jokes? Fine, we can do that.

Hillbilly

June 13th, 2012
3:03 pm

I’m walking away from the computer, now. Murph has spoiled the blog with that godforsaken song and now it’s embedded in my brain. This upsets me. Gotta get away.

MFin04

June 13th, 2012
3:04 pm

It was a bad idea to stretch him out in the first place, now we’ve lost 2 games because of it, and we don’t even need him stretched out. They probably end up DLing someone to make room for him as a starter, maybe Beachy.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:06 pm

Thanks for the new blog, Carroll. Maybe things will calm down now, at least a bit, until tonight.

I get that no one likes losing, and we are all at least a bit frustrated. I also get that everyone must “grieve” in their own way (even keel works best for me). I do find the level of vitiol startling at times…but especially troubling today was the digression into vicious, ugly personal attacks on each other. Unfortunate, to say the least. I think everyone needs to take a breath.

Negativity will kill you…literally.

MFin04

June 13th, 2012
3:06 pm

“It costs a family of four over $100 just in tickets alone”

Where are you getting your tickets? Most places you can get $10 or $5 tickets online.

TennesseePaul

June 13th, 2012
3:07 pm

nor is there [a rule] that says Kimbrel is the only reliever that can pick up saves.

Yes. This would be unfair to all the other teams in baseball. He’d effectively have a monopoly on the stat so much so that Mariano would probably file a law suit. Also, the 15% of the saves accumulated by Braves team members other than Kimbrel would be in total dispute.

BlueMoon

June 13th, 2012
3:08 pm

Someone needs to tell Venters to get his butt home at night instead of going out in Buckhead and partying. He has absolutely no one to blame but himself right now and I’m amazed it’s being put up with right now. Fredi needs to put the hammer down on the kid.

Murph

June 13th, 2012
3:08 pm

Murph, the last thing this blog needs is lyrics.

Next thing you’re going to tell me is that you’re vegan and BBQ talk has no place here either.

Commie.

Pete*

June 13th, 2012
3:09 pm

I never thought that much of Cox’s decisions (especially in the playoffs), but FG has taken it to a new level. First of all give him all the credit for playing Diaz as opposed to JH. But I recall early last year out in LA when Braves were ahead by 1 in bottom of 9th, man on 2nd, and he decides to pitch to Matt Kemp (who started off last year similar to this year) with 1st open. You can guess what happened…..LA wins by 1. I said at the time that game would come back to haunt the Braves, and it certainly did. Then last night with Kimbrel never getting in the game….just brutal.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

June 13th, 2012
3:09 pm

Ease

On second thought…

Jay Dubu

June 13th, 2012
3:11 pm

Medlen is needed here asap. Instead of using 3 – 4 pitchers when the starter goes 5 -6 innings, just let Medlen finish the game out.

Specialization has really been overused, to the detriment of the players. Get guys that can get outs regardless of which batters’ box the hitter stands in.

There still may be the occasion in a big game where you want to go with a pitcher that is extremely difficult for a righty or lefty (whichever the case) to hit, but it’s doesn’t have to be everyday.

If Fredi knew going into the game that O’Flat was sidelined, there should have been a plan in place to deal with a struggling reliever. When Venters started to struggle, it appeared that Fredi’s hope was that he’d get it straightened out.

When you’re facing a lineup with as much talent (top to bottom) as the Yanks, you can’t give games away with indecision.

If Fredi’s only going to pitch Livan Hernandez in blowouts, they should let him go, and get someone that is going to be a valuable part of the team.

No player wants to feel like they’re only on the team for mop-up duty.

wayn-o

June 13th, 2012
3:12 pm

Easy, put Delgado in the pen. He’s young, save his arm and come back as a starter if Medlin or Minor don’t work out or there is an injury. The Bullpen needs him more than the starting rotation.

Spring of George

June 13th, 2012
3:12 pm

Dang, somebody finally made a gap in the NL East standings. Washington tore it up as the rest of division flaked out the past few games. Loving Phillies 9 1/2 back. With the whole division to look up to, the Cheese steaks may finally be out of the playoffs for the first time in a while.

Spring of George

June 13th, 2012
3:14 pm

That was an EXCRUCIATING loss last night.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:14 pm

MF – Medlin, and likely no one would have prevented the loss against Toronto. WE LOSE BY 8 RUNS. Toronto scored 12 runs. It takes more than one pitcher to give up that many. At the very least, while a different move may have prevented a loss, however unlikely, it certainly was not a game that “we should have won”.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:14 pm

Medlin = Medlen, of course.

Ease

June 13th, 2012
3:16 pm

It takes more than one pitcher to give up that many.

Technically it took three, but Livan gave up what, 18 that game?

phil

June 13th, 2012
3:16 pm

Muggy doesn’t equal hot….

Shaun will be along with proof soon.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:17 pm

Shaun

June 13th, 2012
3:17 pm

Murph, thank you! Your 2:50 pm comment is what I’ve been arguing about the save rule all along.

If Joe Borowski can save 45 games, there is no reason the Braves can’t take a chance on Durbin saving one game in order to ensure Kimbrel faces the heart of the Yankees’ order late in the game.

Dawgdad (The Original)

June 13th, 2012
3:17 pm

I know Fredi has never had an original thought in his life and would be solidly against anything that goes against “the book”, but here goes.

Go to a six man rotation, with all the gimpy arms we have and everyone needing extra rest. Might work, people laughed at LaRussa for his batting the pitcher 8th, and we have seen some benefits of that.

Oh, what will that do to the short staff bullpen. Here is how you fix that. The guys who pitched three and four days ago be required to be available for one inning every night. Bullpen back to full staff. Don’t use them unless you have to. Up grade the rest of the bullpen, get rid of Livan, and any get a rotation going with Gwinnett. Two or three bad outings, out you go, bring up Flande and others and give them a shot. Too original to be implemented as old foggies don’t admit they may have been doing it wrong for years.

seabass

June 13th, 2012
3:19 pm

Really, Minor pitched pretty well last night. He had 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Yankees. I bet Venters can’t say that. Probably screwed him up for life mentally.

Defeat grabbed from the jaws of victory

June 13th, 2012
3:22 pm

Why didn’t Fredi leave Minor in with a 5 hit, shutout going? As bad as he’s been, he was ON last night enough to deserve regaining his confidence by keeping him in that game. Why chance the lousy bullpen (of late) to get the last 5 outs? That was a needed, confidence-boosting win that they turned into a loss.
At least Gonzalez could have allowed Minor chance to get out of 8th or give up 2 runs before taking the ball away. Instead, he lets the bullpen give up 6 runs.
Minor’s gotta be pissed.

bobbymahlon

June 13th, 2012
3:23 pm

It all boils down to whom ever Fredi puts in has to perform. Right now I think Gearrn, Martinez,Hernandez,and Durbin are all so so pitchers and you can not count on that type to pitch well a high percentage of the time. I’m for bringing up Medlan,JJ and Teheran and I’m not worried about who is going to start and who is going to pitch in relief lets leave this up to the powers to be, but lets get our best pitchers in the bigs and send the others down or get ride of them.

cowdogit

June 13th, 2012
3:23 pm

Bobby Cox is putting his friendship with McDowell above the good of the team . Leo Mazzone won fourteen division titles . It would be fun to watch the genius of Mazzone win a few more titles before he retires .

Shaun

June 13th, 2012
3:25 pm

Jonny Venters is Just Fine
by Ben Duronio, Capitol Avenue Club http://capitolavenueclub.com/?p=6806

3.04, 2.88, 3.19.

Those are Jonny Venters’ xFIPs over the past three seasons. He has not changed much at all as a pitcher, but this year he is just receiving all of the poor luck that he didn’t receive in the two season’s previous.

His velocity is slightly down, a mile per hour on average for both of his pitches, which is likely the reason for Venters becoming as hittable as he has been. Even so, his 93-94 mile per hour power sinker is a difficult pitch to hit for any major leaguer, and the rate at which he has given up hits and allowed home runs is far out the ordinary.

Venters currently has a BABIP of .439 compared to a .288 career average, with a HR/FB rate of 33.3% compared to a career rate of 9.5%. If you think those rates will continue, I do not know what to tell you.

Here are the strikeout and walk rates of Venters over the past three seasons

K% – 26.6, 26.9, 26.5
BB%- 11.1, 12.0, 10.3

Along with almost identical strikeout-to-walk rates, Venters has a SIERA of 2.70 compared to a career SIERA of 2.71. The difference between him now and him over the past two years is not nearly as vast as his ERA and FIP suggest. The homers will come down as will the hits allowed. Maybe he won’t be quite as dominant as he has been over the past two years, but he should still be one of the better relievers in the game going forward unless they begin to attack hitters differently or try to fix something that really is not broken.

Pete*

June 13th, 2012
3:28 pm

cowdogit: “Leo Mazzone won fourteen division titles . It would be fun to watch the genius of Mazzone win a few more titles before he retires .”

Mazzone was no genius; he was fortunate to have 3 genius starters. If he was so good, he wouldnt have been fired in Baltimore.

Defeat grabbed from the jaws of victory

June 13th, 2012
3:29 pm

What a game for Minor to turn his season around….Against the pud Yankers.
Instead, they pulled the rug out from under him and now he might be a headcase. Wondering what he has to do for his manager to keep him IN THE GAME?
Might as well send him to Triple-A now. You got his best last night and BLEW IT.

cabravesfan

June 13th, 2012
3:29 pm

Atlanta Braves ‏@Braves
RHP Cory Gearrin has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and RHP Anthony Varvaro has been recalled from Gwinnett.

Mac Truck

June 13th, 2012
3:30 pm

Did someone just use the words “genius” and Leo Mazonne in the same sentence? Leo is a smart-alec, know-it-all on the radio–who really knows very little.

phil

June 13th, 2012
3:30 pm

I prefer to use my closer to close….

It’s only because they say on ESPN that he should be used in that spot and in no other.

ncbravesfan90

June 13th, 2012
3:31 pm

Atlanta Braves ‏@Braves
RHP Cory Gearrin has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and RHP Anthony Varvaro has been recalled from Gwinnett.

Just goes to show you that Triple A numbers to always equate to success in the Majors.

ncbravesfan90

June 13th, 2012
3:31 pm

Atlanta Braves ‏@Braves
RHP Cory Gearrin has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and RHP Anthony Varvaro has been recalled from Gwinnett.

Just goes to show you that Triple A numbers don’t always equate to success in the Majors.

Astro Joe

June 13th, 2012
3:31 pm

Braves needed to get out of the 8th when the bases were loaded… don;t worry about the 9th, clear the 8th. The issue isn’t rather Kimbrell could have pitched 2 innings, could he have come in with bases loaded and finished the inning with the Braves int he lead? Seems to me that Fredi was thinking too much. Worried about the ninth, he lost the game in the 8th.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:31 pm

cowdogit – Easy for ANY pitching coach to look like a genius with that staff. Plus we’d have to hire him away from…oh that’s right, no one else has hired him (other than the O’s debacle, of course).

Murph

June 13th, 2012
3:32 pm

Do any of you listen to the pregame with Lemke and Mazzone?

Seems they don’t like Leo much. Not sure why, but they go out of their way to try and contradict him whenever they can.

Kinda sad to see how far ol’ Leo has fallen. I really liked/like the guy.

Ward

June 13th, 2012
3:32 pm

Hello everyone! Last nights game had me even depressed after seeing the highlights when I got home. Huddy, needs this one, so let ’s go Braves!!!!!! ! think have some of my hope back? If Braves don’t win tonight? I think it’s wise to start thinking trade…….

Brian from SC

June 13th, 2012
3:33 pm

Putting the closer in in the 8th, and letting someone else pitch the 9th? That’s radical thinking right there. Not sure that has ever happened in the history of baseball.

This pitching staff is schizo

June 13th, 2012
3:33 pm

Pete….no need to knock Mazzone..He did help Glavine and Smoltz become the players they became. Remember, Smoltz started out so bad he had to see a head shrink and check out Glavines humble beginnings as a Brave.

Ward

June 13th, 2012
3:34 pm

I have hope , because Huddy’s pitching, and still think Wren, needs to grow a pair, and make a trade for a starter.

phil

June 13th, 2012
3:34 pm

No, I try to avoid the silly, empty, informationless pregame show with Lemke and Mazzone.

It makes me want to step in front of a bus as much as a Shaun post.

ncbravesfan90

June 13th, 2012
3:35 pm

6/13/2012 Lineup:

1. Michael Bourn (L) CF
2. Martin Prado (R) LF
3. Brian McCann (L) C
4. Dan Uggla (R) 2B
5. Chipper Jones (S) 3B
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Eric Hinske (L) 1B
8. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
9. Tim Hudson (R) P

PDOG

June 13th, 2012
3:35 pm

Have to agree with Shaun, Venters had just allowed a hit and then walked a batter to load the bases, you need to bring in your best reliever and get out of the inning then worry about the 9th. As for Medlin he needs to be in the bullpen.

Dawgdad (The Original)

June 13th, 2012
3:35 pm

Since they have already won the series, maybe the Yankees will just give us the last game. That is the code of Gonzalez after all. Remember Sunday, when Fredi said he wasn’t too worried about giving away the game by bringing in Livan, since we had already won the series.

So, Go Braves, take that gift!

shlomo

June 13th, 2012
3:37 pm

shaun- take your statistics and shove them up your ass. He gave up the grand slam.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:37 pm

Not saying Leo didn’t do his job. However, go back and try to find positive comments about him, like how much he would be missed, by the pitching staff when he left.

Ward

June 13th, 2012
3:37 pm

Last night is done with, so I hope for better results. We can only hope right……

phil

June 13th, 2012
3:38 pm

Hudson – blown out ankle.
Beachy – sore elbow.
Medlen – blasted at Gwinnett
Minor – personality disorder
JJ – who knows but awful
Delgado – wildly inconsistent
EOF – sore elbow
Kimbrel – vanished, ignored
Durbin – Durbin
Livan – fat, awful
StuckinGearrin – just not any good
Martinez – average, at best
Valvaro? – don’t hold your breath….

sigh.

Anders

June 13th, 2012
3:38 pm

Not for nothing Braves fans but consider yourselves lucky that you only have to face this behemoth machine that is the Yankees and their arrogant fans three times every three years or so. How would you like to play them 6 times EVERY year?
Oh yeah, and then have to live among them the rest of the season. Now you know why I come to this blog for some reprieve. {:

Ward

June 13th, 2012
3:39 pm

What do Braves need most? LF bat, or go starting pitcher, or both?

Duke

June 13th, 2012
3:39 pm

I actually think a 6-Man rotation would be a good idea. Also, one good start from Minor doesn’t cancel the previous 7.

PDOG

June 13th, 2012
3:39 pm

Carroll any reason FF is out of the lineup tonight?

Ralph

June 13th, 2012
3:40 pm

Carroll, the answer is simple
1st – Send Venters to AAA today to get his stuff togather
2nd – Recall Varvaro today, we need him with EFO unavailable
3rd – Since Medlen pitched 6 innings he will not be available until Saturday, so recall Meds on Saturday
4th – DFA Hernandez on Saturday to make room for Medlen in the bullpen.
Problem solved.

Murph

June 13th, 2012
3:40 pm

Murph, thank you! Your 2:50 pm comment is what I’ve been arguing about the save rule all along.

I still like the idea of a “closer”, the guy with the handlebar mustache and bad teeth who runs in to AC/DC and is just a total badass, striking out the side on 9 pitches at 100+ mph… but… sometimes, like last night, that moment could be just as cool in the 8th as it would be in the 9th.

3 Kimbrel K’s are 3 Kimbrel K’s, no matter what inning… and how freakin’ awesome would it have been to see him make ARod look like a gimp when blowin’ the high heat right past him? Sadly, we’ll never know.

bravesgrl4life

June 13th, 2012
3:41 pm

I would have rather Venters walked A-Rod to score one. Maybe he could have gotten the next two guys, then Killer Craig comes in for the 9th and the Braves go home with a 4-1 win. But, no, gotta throw one up there hoping he’ll chase. Well, he did and we all see what happened.

As much as I hated Durbin at the beginning of the year, he was nowhere near as bad as what we saw last night.

Murph

June 13th, 2012
3:41 pm

4th – DFA Hernandez on Saturday to make room for Medlen in the bullpen.

+1

ncbravesfan

June 13th, 2012
3:41 pm

This team is a mess, plain and simple. Few decent offensive players, inconsistent pitching, and a bumbling manager is NOT a recipe for success in the major leagues. And I don’t want to hear any of this “but we’re five games over .500 and only five out it’s still early” nonsense. Even if this team somehow manages to win enough to get one of the two wild cards, they don’t have what it takes to win that one “must win” game.

One thing last night’s game taught me is that the “hope we win Braves” are far from the “we will win Yankees” in mentality, heart, and attitude.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:42 pm

Ward – And who would be this savior/difference maker that is available right now on the trade market, and what would he cost in $$$ and prospects? Who currently out there would be worth the price…IF we could actually afford it? GM is best left to the professionals…don’t try this at home. BTW, I don’t know, but I suspect that he already has a pair, without having to grow them.

go-BRAVOS

June 13th, 2012
3:43 pm

Which one will be the first to need Tommy John surgery before the season is finished O’Flaherty or Venters?
O’Flaherty out with sore elbow does not bode well for him or the Braves. Seems that overuse of the pen from last year is going to cost the Braves any chance of making or advancing in the postseason in 2012. Funny before the season started all the talk was about how strong the bullpen would be and pitching in general and yet it has been the most ineffective aspect of the Braves.

Go Braves!

what of it?

June 13th, 2012
3:44 pm

So they insisted they were sticking with minor despite the troubles, then sent our best long reliever to the minor’s to stretch his arm out. now that MInor’s doing better, we’ve wasted 3 starts worth of Medlen’s arm. Great managing job guys. How about this: make a plan and stick with it.

PDOG

June 13th, 2012
3:44 pm

Feel bad for Gearin, he didn’t do the job but he should only be used in a righty, righty match up. Livan should be the one send out of town and why not send EOF down untill he is ready to pitch, this still leaves the bullpen shorthanded.

Pete*

June 13th, 2012
3:44 pm

Schizo, saying someone is not a genius is hardly knocking him, and apparently Im not the only one on here who feels that way. Yes Glavine and Smoltz had shaky beginnings, just like so many quality pitchers have. Their shaky beginnings also coincided with an overall terrible Braves team, dont forget. If hes such a genius, why the disaster in Baltimore?

Bat Masterson

June 13th, 2012
3:46 pm

Along with almost identical strikeout-to-walk rates, Venters has a SIERA of 2.70 compared to a career SIERA of 2.71.

Ha, I knew it was something like that. F’in tree huggers fault.

raleighbravefan

June 13th, 2012
3:46 pm

Anders – We DO play the Yankees 6 games this year…3 up there next week.

TennesseePaul

June 13th, 2012
3:46 pm

how freakin’ awesome would it have been to see him make ARod look like a gimp when blowin’ the high heat right past him? Sadly, we’ll never know.

Don’t the Braves have 4 more games against the Yanks this year?

Anders

June 13th, 2012
3:46 pm

Venters had just allowed a hit and then walked a batter to load the bases, you need to bring in your best reliever and get out of the inning then worry about the 9th (PDOG)

To accomplish this means you get your closer up by at least the beginning of the 3rd batter of the inning’s at bat before the situation appeared precarious. Which means that if Venters wiggles out of it then you sit your closer back down and then restart him for the ninth. You plan to do this every night? If so you’re gonna kill the guy. If not, how do you determine which games to do it and which games not to? If you do it in a 4-0 game that’s a pretty wide berth.

These are the realities of managing these major league assets. This isn’t a video game where nothing wears out.

Ward

June 13th, 2012
3:47 pm

You’ll hate to hear me say it, but we need Dempster, or Zack G. Wren, just going to have to grow a pair, and do some thing. On a bat I don’t know?

N8

June 13th, 2012
3:47 pm

“Jonny Venters is Just Fine
by Ben Duronio, Capitol Avenue Club”

Reads the headline to the story Shaun linked at 3:25, which was multiple paragraphs of babble with nothing to do about nothing in it.

I can sum it up for you in one sentence using only my “baseball fan” eyes and common sense…..

Johnny Venters is NOT fine

Period.

phil

June 13th, 2012
3:47 pm

PDOG

June 13th, 2012
3:39 pm

Carroll any reason FF is out of the lineup tonight?
************
Aside from being half blind and having practically no hits in a month now?

Anders

June 13th, 2012
3:50 pm

raleighbravesfan – I didn’t realize that -my bad. Isn’t that unusual for the Braves to play an interleague team 6 times in the same year? Not that I’m complaining in this instance. {:

phil

June 13th, 2012
3:51 pm

Of course JV is not fine….

He’s looked awful all season but for a few times.

And what the hell is SIERA? And why am I asking? And who cares anyway.

Fire FW!!

N8

June 13th, 2012
3:51 pm

Anders, you do it based on which part of the lineup is due up in the 8th. If the meat of the order is coming up in a 4-0 games, you predetermine that the more “important” inning is the 8th inning. Then when Kimbrel gets out of it, if the lead is preserved at 4-0, you can go with a lesser reliever facing less challenging hitters.

If Durbin isn’t good enough to face the lower 3rd of the order in the 9th inning, why on earth is he considered good enough to face the heart of the order with a game on the line in the 6th or 7th inning.

Either he’s good enough or he isn’t.

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