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Craig Kimbrel just lowered his ERA to 0.94

Sep 3, 2013, 10:13 PM EDT

Craig Kimbrel Reuters

It’s old hat now, but Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is once again threatening to post a sub-1.00 ERA. He’s at 0.94 after pitching a scoreless inning for his 44th save Tuesday against the Mets.

Kimbrel finished last year at 1.01.

There was actually some concern about Kimbrel after he got off to a rough start this spring and took a loss to the Dominican Republic while pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Struggling to find his breaking ball, he wasn’t quite his usual self at the beginning of the regular season, either; he blew three saves in the first five weeks, with his ERA peaking at 3.38 on May 7.

Of course, Kimbrel has allowed all of one run in the nearly four months since. He’s also converted 34 straight save chances.

Kimbrel’s 1.01 ERA last year was the 13th lowest all-time among pitchers to throw at least 50 innings. Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney actually set the record last season, coming in at 0.60 to beat out Dennis Eckersley’s 0.61 mark from 1990.

There’s no way Kimbrel is going to top that, but if he keeps putting up zeroes, he’ll likely end up in the 0.80-0.85 range.

That might not be the low mark of 2013, though. Pirates reliever Mark Melancon is at 0.88 at the moment. Both he and Kimbrel have allowed six earned runs, but Melancon tops him in innings 61 1/3 to 57 2/3.

  1. wpjohnson - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    If Kimbrel p[layed in Los Angeles or New York, he would win the NLCY. Unfortunately for him, he plays in Atlanta.

    • Kevin S. - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      Considering Mariano Rivera has never won the CYA, your statement is a little ridiculous. And it doesn’t matter if Kimbrel played in the backyard of every NLCYA voter, Kershaw wins going away.

      • tuberippin - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:56 PM

        It’s all relative to the season. Eric Gagne took home an NL Cy Young back in the day when the starting pitching crop in the NL had an off year.

      • bravesfan1966 - Sep 4, 2013 at 5:24 AM

        Kershaw AND the Doggers SUCK!

    • kingscourt25 - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      It seems like Braves fans care more about their players getting respect than their team winning the World Series.

      • bravesfan1966 - Sep 4, 2013 at 5:28 AM

        No, kingscourt, you’re DEAD wrong! Braves fans are itching for another WS Title to shut the mouths of all the posters predicting another Post season collapse! What we want as far as respect goes, is for the mainstream media to give the TEAM the respect they deserve for what they’ve accomplished so far this season. You know, like BEING THE BEST TEAM IN MLB despite being ravaged by injuries all year!

      • clearwall - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Personally, I love the fact that no one is paying attention to us. I’ve been saying for a while that the 2013 Braves are one of the most unnoticed dominant teams of all time. We are the ONLY team in baseball to post MULTIPLE 10+ game win streaks, we have the best record in baseball, we crush the ball better than anyone else, we have the best hitter in the league, the best closer in the league, the best BP in the league, and a top-3 starting rotation. No one will see us coming, they will not respect us, and we will blow their barn doors off.

      • beardrage - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        Really clearwall? The best hitter in the league? Who would that be, exactly? Freeman? Upton? Johnson?

        Not one of those guys has put up an offensive season like Goldschmidt, McCuthchen, Votto, or Gonzalez. And that’s assuming you’re only talking about the NL, since the top AL hitters smash anything the NL has produced this year. I agree with a lot of what you said, but Atlanta quite clearly does not have the single best hitter in the NL, let alone the MLB.

        In terms of being able to “crush the ball better than anyone else” as a team, I should note the St Louis is the clear leader in runs scored amongst NL teams.

        StL: 655
        Col: 612
        Cin: 606
        Atl: 604

        You can set aside Colorado because of their stadium, and Cincinnati also has a very offensive park. Plus, both those teams have more games played than Atlanta. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are just flat out superior in terms of run production, which really is the final measure of offensive quality.

        Of course, as before, all of that is setting aside the AL offensive powerhouses.

        So yes, Atlanta is having a dominant season which is being largely overlooked, but there’s no need to exaggerate their accomplishments by making claims that are definitively untrue.

    • bravesfan1966 - Sep 4, 2013 at 5:23 AM

      Really wpjohnson? So, it’s unfortunate for Kimbrel that he plays in Atlanta? I bet HE doesn’t feel that way, and isn’t worried about winning the NL Cy Young Award!

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  2. thevauntedchris - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    what I took away from this article… Fernando Rodney was unbelievably lucky last year

    • titknocker - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:15 AM

      aberration yes, lucky no. guy gave up 5 earned runs while pitching the 2nd most innings of his career. also had the best k/bb ratio of his career.

      • thevauntedchris - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:14 AM

        Clearly you have to be doing some things very well to put up the numbers he did in that sample size. His k/bb ratio you cite is that way only because he found some magic non-walk potion last year. Still, kudos to him for that. He threw strikes, I’ll give him that. But his K rate has been higher than last year a few times, even this year.

        He is having a perfectly good Fernando Rodney year in 2013, with more strikeouts per inning than normal. Yet his era is about 3 runs higher. It’s because he has shown no ability his entire career to sustain that walk rate from 2012. And he also couldn’t sustain that lucky BABIP of .220 and leaving men on base about 90% of the time.

        The only skill he displayed last year, out of the ordinary, was lowering his walks. It was so much lower that I call that luck too. Great year but he won’t sniff a 2 ERA ever again.

        Or maybe he shot his lucky angel with an imaginary arrow at the end of last year.

  3. scdocal - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    It’s not a braves fan who said that there smart guy. He was just saying that he doesn’t play in a major market. Kimbrel doesn’t care if he wins the cy young award. Braves fans haven’t bitches at all about not having media attention. They voted Freddie in for all star game by 4 mill votes so they seem pretty content if u ask me.

  4. mannyicey - Sep 4, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    The Atlanta Braves has the 3rd largest fan base in the major leagues! How can they not be a major market? Think about it: If you live anywhere from North Carolina through Louisiana, you only had the Braves until Tampa Bay and Miami started their teams. Plus, the Braves probably have more fans in Florida than both of those teams combined due to the long time that the Braves represented the Southeast in MLB.

    So to say that the Braves isn’t a major market doesn’t truly understand the fan base.

    • clearwall - Sep 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      http://www.stationindex.com/tv/tv-markets

      Because it’s not. Thats why

      • mannyicey - Sep 8, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        The Braves fanbase covers too large a territory. But don’t worry- There was a poll:

        http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/mid/1508/articleId/1235/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/Default.aspx

  5. spacemaker101 - Sep 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    He has 44 saves in ATL this year… Everyone knows he’s the best closer in the game doesn’t matter if he’s in LA or ATL.. Good try

    • clearwall - Sep 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      People are going to read this comment and think you said something completely different than what you meant. Clearly, Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the history of the game and he is still playing at an amazingly high level. However, Kimbrel is so utterly dominant, he has eclipsed Rivera in ability for this season. His legacy isnt what Mariano’s is, but one of these days he should be close to passing him.

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