Starter gets hammered. Bullpen saves the day.
How many times can we watch the same game over and over and …
Wait a minute — who changed the channel?
The Braves, who have used a mind-numbing 17 pitchers in relief already this season and own the majors’ worst bullpen with 11 blown saves and a collective ERA that had ballooned to 4.90 before Tuesday night, came together for one game.
Aberration? Probably. But after starter Mike Foltynewicz allowed five runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings, five relievers shut out San Diego for the final 3 1/3 and the Braves rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5.
Closer Jason Grilli, who had blown a save Monday night when the Braves lost 5-3 in 10 innings, tempted fate a day later. He allowed a one-out double in the ninth to Yonder Alonso, a wild pitch to put the potential tying run 90 feet away and a two-out walk to Cory Spangerberg. But Grilli struck out Clint Barnes to end the game and celebrated with several fist pumps.
Enjoy it, Atlanta. The afterglow may not last long.
The Braves haven’t been doing a lot of celebrating lately. It took Joey Terdoslavich’s first major league homer and winning two replays to reverse plays at the plate – one that negated Melvin Upton Jr. from scoring San Diego’s sixth run in the eighth; another that allowed the Braves’ Juan Uribe to score after he had been called out at the plate following Andrelton Simmons’ bases-loaded double in the sixth — for the Braves to rally and win.
But the bullpen effort by David Aardsma, Luis Avilan, Brandon Cunniff, Jim Johnson and Grilli was the most unexpected development of the evening.
Asked whether he has had any trepidation about going to the bullpen, manager Fredi Gonzalez said: “Somebody has to try to get somebody out. My body language when I go to the mound to bring somebody in is the same. Somebody told me, ‘Hey, you wave at the bullpen like you’re bringing in Mariano Rivera.’ You feel like the guy you’re going to bring in will do the job. If not, don’t bring him in.”
For one night, there were no meltdowns. But that hasn’t been the case. For more on this subject, click this link on the bullpen: Land of opportunity and brush fires
MyAJC: Braves’ bullpen: Land of opportunity and brush fires AJC: Tiger Woods shows us his worst, and we’ve seen last of his best MyAJC: Smoltz says Braves on right path, calls Hart’s efforts ‘heroic’ AJC: Hawks’ most likely scenario: Danny Ferry’s resignation MyAJC: Hawks have bigger decisions than Millsap, Carroll MyAJC: Hawks just weren’t ready for this AJC: Carroll also had turf toe, should’ve missed 3-4 weeks AJC: Hawks finally confirm Korver needs surgery — but nothing else MyAJC: Hawks learning hard lessons about playoffs MyAJC: Hawks lose Horford but scrap, win respect in loss AJC: Short takes: Horford deserved a foul but not an ejection AJC: Bazemore in, Carroll still standing and Hawks say they’re ready MyAJC: Hawks have been running on fumes for a while AJC: These really were the throwback Hawks — and that’s not good MyAJC: Carroll’s clean MRI alone won’t fix Hawks’ problems AJC: Carroll’s MRI negative, game status still uncertain MyAJC: So many negatives won’t work in this round for Hawks AJC: Game day: Hawks need Korver to find scoring touch MyAJC: Is Hawks’ sum greater than one LeBron? AJC: Odds say Cleveland, but when have odds ever said Hawks? AJC: Hawks in conference finals — and so is Josh Smith MyAJC: Mike Budenholzer’s leadership may continue to grow MyAJC: Hawks finally reach East’s promised land AJC: Short take: Pierce foiled, Teague finishes strong, Hawks move on MyAJC: Hawks in East finals would make Atlanta top 10 MyAJC: Hawks in one win from higher elevation MyAJC: Hawks come through when it matters most AJC: Short takes: Horford comes through, Teague bows out MyAJC: Desperation shouldn’t be Hawks’ prime motivator MyAJC: Brady, Patriots got what they deserved