Braves’ bullpen saves the day (wait, did that just happen?)

Braves reliever Jason Grilli hugs catcher Christian Bethancourt after closing out the ninth inning in the Braves’ 6-5 win over San Diego Tuesday night. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Braves reliever Jason Grilli hugs catcher Christian Bethancourt after closing out the ninth inning in the Braves' 6-5 win over San Diego Tuesday night.  (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Braves reliever Jason Grilli hugs catcher Christian Bethancourt after closing out the ninth inning in the Braves’ 6-5 win over San Diego Tuesday night. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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

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Reader Comments 0


Lighten up folks, it's not like this was unexpected. What Hart and Co are doing is long overdue, should have happened under Wren when instead we became big spenders for little talent...I'm enjoying this team of overachievers and look forward to seeing more of our new found young pitching talent.


Now if we could find someone to take Cahill and Johnson off of our hands. Wren really screwed up by giving Chris Johnson that kind of money. Now he is at best a very average player.

Wish we could have Wandy Rodriquez and James Russell back. Big mistake by Hart and the braintrust.

How about that catch and throw from Uribe last night to nail MUPTION JR. at the plate. Johnson could not have made that play I do not believe. Uribe does not look physically like  MLB player, but he sure does hustle and plays like one. No way I thought he had a chance of scoring last night.


At least make smart decisions with this woeful group like sending Cody Martin down AGAIN.  Now this time leave him there.  We've seen quite enough.


Hart has done great things reworking this roster. He'll do them again. Don't forget that without BJ Melvin, Jr.

the team has a few $ to spend come the second half of the season. The second half will be kind to these Braves, I believe.



As I commented below, as much as it hurt losing Kimbrel, it was worth it to get rid of BJ. 

Sometimes, have to sacrifice, in order to gain and improve.


As the GM was putting together this team, did the disregard the need for a decent(or at least average) bullpen, because he did not believe that this team even had a chance of being competitive?

I suppose when he traded Kimbrell in the BJ Upton dump off, he answered that question when he stated that Craig was a luxury for these Braves. 


And I am not criticizing the trade. Kimbrel is a player that I really like,......but losing him was worth getting rid of BJ Upton.

Plus,......the Braves got a 100% improvement(over Upton) in CF and at the plate, when they received Maybin in the deal. 

Maybin takes the field, like he really wants to play the game. Never saw that in BJ.


IF,.... The Braves even a mediocre bullpen, they could be leading their division, and  be competing for the best record in the NL.


@reckingball  with a good pen they could be 7 to 11 games better than they are now... you never know, that's why they play the game. Go Braves!