Blog Entry

Heavy workload catching up to Venters, Kimbrel?

Posted on: September 20, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 2:18 pm
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By Matt Snyder

The Braves are stumbling through September and have nearly squandered what once appeared an insurmountable wild-card lead. They are up just 2 1/2 games on the Cardinals and 3 1/2 games on the Giants. There are several culprits, such as injuries to the starting rotation and inconsistent offense. But we shouldn't ignore the fact that the back-end duo in the bullpen appears to be faltering.

In his last 12 appearances, Jonny Venters has a 5.56 ERA, 1.85 WHIP and two blown saves. Prior to that, Venters had a 1.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and two blown saves all season.

In his last six appearances, Craig Kimbrel has a 7.94 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and two blown saves in four chances. Prior to that, Kimbrel had a 1.55 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and five blown saves in 48 chances.

Here are some more stats. Entering Tuesday, Venters led the majors with 82 relief appearances. Kimbrel was tied for second with 77. Venters is third in relief innings with 85. Kimbrel is seventh with 75 1/3. As ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out via Twitter, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has never pitched in more than 74 games during a regular season. Retired great Trevor Hoffman never appeared in more than 70. Kimbrel's probably going to hit 80 as a rookie this year.

All the way back on June 10, I wrote that the heavy workload could become a concern down the road. It's entirely possible both relievers are simply experiencing a personal funk that has nothing to do with the number of appearances. Kimbrel had a 10-game stretch in the first half of the season with a 5.79 ERA before he locked in again. Venters had a nine-game stretch in late June with a 6.10 ERA, but settled back down for a while. So the argument that either pitcher is merely in a temporary bad stretch has precedent. Let's also note Kimbrel basically got three outs Monday but was a victim of circumstance. If you want to argue there's no connection between the workload and the recent ills of Venters and Kimbrel, you have plenty of ammunition.

Still, there's no disputing the young duo is piling up appearances and innings at an alarming rate, meaning their recent slumps may not be a coincidence. And they're still hoping to be strong for the playoffs, if the Braves can hold on. If Venters and Kimbrel don't get back on track, the chances of that happening aren't very good.

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 2:59 pm
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peulouy
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 7:40 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Heavy workload catching up to Venters, Kimbrel?

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Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Heavy workload catching up to Venters, Kimbrel?

We've been wraning Braves fans about this all year, yet they downplayed it time after time...
has never pitched in more than 74 games during a regular season. Retired great never appeared in more than 70.
...still want to live in denial, Braves fans?


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