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Kimbrel Unit malfunctions, Cards beat Braves in 10

Sep 10, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

Jonny Venters

Someone had better perform a level 2 diagnostic on the Kimbrel Unit’s positronic net, because the results it achieved last night were well outside normal operating parameters.

The Braves were up 3-1 on the Cards heading into the bottom of the ninth last night when Craig Kimbrel, perhaps the most automatic thing in baseball this year, was called into the game to close it out.  Things didn’t go according to plan, however. This is what happened:

Two of these hitters didn’t have much business touching Kimbrel, but that’s baseball for you. As for Pujols, I officially join all of those crazy Brewers fans who hate Albert Pujols. You were right all along, people.

OK, that’s not fair, he was just being himself. But I’m watchin’ you, Albert. Watchin’ you real close.

Anyway, with the game tied they headed to the 10th because that’s what the rules say you have to do. After the Braves went down 1-2-3, Fredi Gonzalez called on Scott Linebrink, because the rule book also says that you can’t use your best available pitcher on the road in a tie game. And that’s a rule backed by science and geometric logic. Linebrink gave up singles to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, a sac bunt moved them up to second and third and then Nick Punto — the most dangerous man in baseball — hit a sac fly to center, scoring Holliday. Ballgame.

So, here we are: The Braves have a 6.5 game lead on the Cardinals in the wild card with 18 games to play for the Cards and 17 for the Braves.  I am not sweating yet. Not really. Like I said yesterday: if the Cardinals sweep, I sweat. If they don’t, the worst case is that the Braves keep that 6.5 game lead leaving St. Louis with 16/15 to play.  I think that’s insurmountable. At least I’m pretty sure it is.

It is, right? Please?

  1. joshftw - Sep 10, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    Have they tried turning him off and on again? Are they sure he’s plugged in?

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 10, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Maybe the first paragraph means something to somebody but I couldn’t get through it. Sorry.

    • prionogenic - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      Craig is making the joke that Kimbrel has been almost automatic this year converting saves, like a cybernetic machine

      • purnellmeagrejr - Sep 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        hey, your names prionogenic – you WOULD understand the first paragraph .. .hehe. Actually I got the general drift – it was just clumsy.

  3. eshine76 - Sep 10, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    Insurmountable? I’m a Mets fan and recent history tells us that no lead is safe.

    • prionogenic - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      2007 Phils came back from 7 down in 17 games. Although that included a 4 game sweep at Citizens Bank in the last week or so of the season

  4. mojosmagic - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Kimbrel has appeared in a ton of games and thrown an inordinate amount of innings for a rookie relief pitcher. Kimbrell is earning about $400,000 per year and the way the Braves are using both him and Vetters neither will last long before needing surgery. It is just wrong how over used these two talented young pitchers are. Most teams monitor the amount of innings their young pitchers throw and show a degree of caring about their futures. It looks to me like the Braves plan on abusing these guys before they can earn big pay days then toss them aside.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:53 AM

      Fredi must be getting advice from Torre on how to handle the bullpen.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    The Braves will be fine because the team chasing them, the Cardinals, aren’t all that good while the Braves still have enough solid pitching. The Red Sox, as I have been saying for about a month now, are in serious trouble. They better win a game and win one fast, or it may be lights out for them.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      I understand all of the hatred you have for the Cardinals, Chris. After all, there are four other teams in your division that will be beating the crap out of the Phillies next year while the Cardinals are in the playoffs and we’re making fun of you, so no reason to get the fans of those teams riled up.

      “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

      • Kevin S. - Sep 10, 2011 at 5:49 PM

        Okay, seriously? Even the most bitter Philly haters would have to have them the odds-on favorites in the NL next year. St. Louis isn’t going anywhere so long as TLR is allowed to run talented players out of town.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 10, 2011 at 5:56 PM

        No, Kevin, not seriously.

        I enjoy looking at the lighter side of life and, as they say in the UK, taking the piss out of people by getting them wound up.

        However, Phillies fans too danm serious. You have the best team in the game, and have had for a few years. Before long it will all fade away. Enjoy it while you can and lighten up. Stop taking everything so personally. You make yourselves targets with you attitudes.

        Lighten up, enjoy the ride, and learn how to have fun.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        I’m not at all a Phillies fan, but nice try. Congratulations, you trolled the thread. Now go away.

  6. cowartsh - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    yeah mojo I am sure its the braves plan to injure two of the best young relief pitchers in the game. That would make so much sense for their future. Just sit there and keep spewing the same crap

  7. bensdad00 - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    perhaps the most automatic thing in baseball this year?

    a half dozen blown saves does not automatic make, especially when such luminaries as Joel Hanrahan and John Axford have less.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      He probably should have said “since June 14th” but I think he let his emotions get the best of him. Give him a break…that was a pretty devastating loss last night and he’s working on a Saturday for crying out loud!!!!!

  8. Francisco (FC) - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    You know, I’m trying really hard to write up something fun about this post. There seems to be plenty of material, but I already used up my WARRANTY VOID joke a few days ago and can’t seem to frame the Pujols shtick in the right way. My mind is drawing a blank. That’s OK, something will come up. It always does.

  9. paperlions - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Kimbrel against StL this year:

    2.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 4 ER, Opp BA .500

    Small sample size, yeah, but not the first time they got to him this year.

  10. dailyrev - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    You have to keep reminding yourself that this is a member of the Dora the Explorer club. I was thinking the same thing watching another ROY-Cy candidate beating The Freak.

  11. mojosmagic - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Cow name one 1st year reliever who has pitched as much as Kimbrel. Can’t do it. I didn’t say the Braves were trying to injure him I said he was being over used and abused because the Braves are in a win at any cost mode. Over use of young pitchers makes arm problems more likely. That is just a fact!!! Either you can’t read or you get angry because you know it is true.

  12. skippyx - Sep 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Leading the league in saves is close to meaningless in this case. He is on a team that does not give up much and does not score much. Add in the fact that none of Atlanta’s starters are workhorses and he gets many chances.

    Here is a look at saves vs. chances.
    Valverde is 42 of 42 or 1.00 (perfect)
    Papelbon is 29 of 30 or .967
    Axford is 41 of 43 or .953
    Madson is 29 of 31 or .935
    Hanrahan is 36 of 39 or .923
    Street is 29 of 32 or .906
    Putz is 38 of 42 or .905
    Bailey is 19 of 21 or .905
    Bell is 36 of 40 or .900
    Perez is 32 of 36 or .889
    Rivera is 39 of 44 or .886
    Kimbrel is 43 of 49 or .877
    Wilson is 35 of 40 or .875
    Storen is 34 of 39 or .872
    League is 34 of 39 or .872
    Feliz is 26 of 32 or .813
    Walden is 29 or 38 or .763
    Capps is 15 of 23 or .652

    Atlanta has the 2nd least effective closer of all playoff teams.
    Only the Rangers/Angels closer will be worse.

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