It’s the final week of the regular season and the Braves are reportedly turning to a familiar face to serve as the club’s closer as the playoffs near. While A.J. Minter has held the title for the last few months, Arodys Vizcaino is going to take over 9th inning duties moving forward.
MLB’s Mark Bowman tweeted, “While the Braves would like to see Vizcaino pitch on consecutive days before the end of the week, they no longer view it as necessary. Given Minter’s recent struggles, as long as Vizcaino remains healthy, he’ll likely be used as the primary closer the rest of the way.”
Bowman also suggested the Braves will continue to give Chad Sobotka opportunities in high-leverage situations after an impressive showing against the Phillies last weekend.
Vizcaino, of course, began the season as Atlanta’s closer and pitched well before going to the disabled list for more than two months with a shoulder issue. Minter was highly effective early on in the year, but he’s been dealing with lower back problems and has struggled to the tune of a 6.30 ERA over his last 10 appearances.
October baseball is a game of matchups, and I’d hope Brian Snitker would utilize Vizcaino (and the rest of his relievers, frankly) when opportune instead of hoping for a 9th inning lead to protect.