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Atlanta Braves bullpen gets new look for the NLDS

ATLANTA, GA – JULY 29: Sean Newcomb #15 of the Atlanta Braves throws a third inning pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers at SunTrust Park on July 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves bullpen finished the season ninth in the NL in fWAR (3.1), seventh in K/9 (8.98) and tenth in ERA (4.14) though they managed to finish seventh in FIP.

The problem came because their relievers were too generous; the Braves pen finished 15th (dead last) in walks-per-nine with 4.41. Walk rates for the workhorses of the pen went up and strikeout rates dropped.

As a result, the Atlanta pen finished tied for eighth in saves with 40, tied for sixth for fewest blown saves with 20, and had the fifth most holds in the NL.  Too many walks mean too many pitches thrown by arms not used to working that hard for that long.

Sunday told us the plan for the pitching staff in the postseason. That plan includes adding at least two and maybe three starters to the pen instead of relying on the weakest links.

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