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The bullpen. The mystical place beyond the outfield wall where pitchers who may or may not play that day, watch the game. If all goes well, only a couple of those guys will be required to leave their seat. But they’re not out there for just the good days; in fact, some of them are out there specifically for the bad days.
We’ve seen enough baseball this season to make an educated assessment of the bullpen; coincidentally, we’ve also seen enough to have questions about the bullpen.
What is Jesse Biddle’s role on this team?
Biddle’s role on this team is among the clearest of the bullpen guys.
Are you ready for it? Not in uniform. That’s the role he’d best serve the Braves, not in uniform. In no situation the Braves will find themselves in for the rest of the regular season & postseason will Jesse Biddle be the best answer to the Braves question. He’s not to be trusted in protecting a lead, executing a hold, or even to keep the deficit where it is. I wouldn’t have trusted him in the historic Beatdown the Braves had last year against the Marlins when Atlanta scored 29 runs.
That seemed harsh. I just want to make it abundantly clear that almost anyone else in the organization would be better suited to throw the ball across the plate with the goal of recording an out in a Major League Baseball game, than Jesse Biddle.
Why does Brian Snitker keep using Josh Tomlin in 1-run games?
In general, I don’t know. On Sunday against the Brewers, because it was an 8-run game when Tomlin started warming up & by the time the Braves at-bat ended, Josh was the only pitcher who was warm.
Tomlin is one of the most important pitchers in this team; just not in high leverage situations. His role now is in long relief when the starter has a bad day or gets unexpectedly pulled (like for an injury) or in the middle innings where the stress is still down & he can start an inning/multiple innings with empty bases.
Is Will Smith the answer in the 9th?
I don’t think he is our closer. Right now, he should get the lion’s share of the closing duties. But that’s only if Snitker has to assign concrete roles & stick with them. I don’t think the Braves answer at closer is on this roster.
I think the relief arms used should be entirely dependent on who pitched the inning(s) before them and what the score is. Each pitcher should give the batters a different look than what they saw the last time through the order. For example, in a game with a 1 or 2 run lead with every arm available. I’d structure the 7th, 8th, & 9th like this: 7th-Matzek, 8th-Jackson, 9th-Smith. Or: 7th-Minter, 8th-Smith, 9th-Matzek.
I don’t think the Braves should designate a closer until they have a legitimate closer on the staff. If they feel that Will Smith is that guy, then sure, name him the closer. But I just don’t think he’s the closer or even a closer.