With the Braves bullpen, there’s little margin for error. And that margin keeps getting thinner. A.J. Minter, who many thought would be the closer by now, has been horrible in May, allowing 18 hits in 9 IP. Right-handed hitters have an .848 OPS vs Minter, who now sports an unsightly 1.754 WHIP. Remember, he never pitched on consecutive days before this season. He’s pitched on back-to-back days four times this year; yesterday was the first time he allowed a run on the second day of those consecutive appearances.
No worries about Dan Winkler being overworked. Despite being the ‘pen’s most reliable option, by far, he’s appeared in just four games over the last two weeks. And there have been plenty of opportunities to use him.
On Friday, the Braves trailed Boston 3-2 entering the 7th. Winkler had not pitched since Tuesday. After Jesse Biddle faced three batters, allowing a bunt single and retiring the next two, Snitker brings in Matt Wisler. To face Mookie Betts. Matt Wisler. This was the game right here. I can assume Snitker was saving Winkler for a lead that would never come. Betts’ two-run homer made sure of that.
Two days later, the Braves inexplicably led the Sox 7-1 entering the 8th inning. This is where you use Lucas Sims or Peter Moylan. Instead, Snit wastes Minter and Viz with a double-header looming on Monday.
Snitker almost assured a Mets sweep yesterday when, tied 2-2 entering the 9th, he gives the ball to Shane Carle, who had been hit hard in his two previous outings. And on an 0-2 count, he serves up a homer to Mesoraco.
In Game 2, with the Braves ahead 4-3 in the 6th, McCarthy, after retiring the first batter, allows three consecutive singles to load the bases. In comes Moylan, with 13 walks in 17-2/3 innings. Why no Winkler this time? Most likely Snitker would say, had he been asked, that Moylan was the best bet to coax a double play. But he was also the most likely to walk in a run. Or give up a two-run single, which he did. Moylan’s WHIP is now 1.909.
After Minter struggled through the 7th, giving up two runs and loading the bases, Snit decides now was the time to bring in Sims. To the surprise of no one, Sims wastes no time adding to the two-run deficit, allowing a single to Rosario. Braves trail 8-5, with at least two of those Mets runs charged to Snitker.
You can certainly make a case that Liberty’s bean counters have given Snit little to work with. But Snitker’s bullpen management is every bit as bad as Fredi’s. And he doesn’t enjoy the cover of provided by a Kimbrel or Venters.
I fear this will get worse before it gets better.