When the Atlanta Braves finalize their roster for the National League Division Series within the next few days, reliever Jordan Walden doesn’t deserve to make the cut.
For much of the season, the 25-year-old right-hander has been one of the most reliable arms in Atlanta’s bullpen. But since returning from an over three-week stint on the disabled list with a groin injury, he has been anything but.
Although Walden retired the Miami Marlins 1-2-3 in his first outing back on Sept. 12, he has given up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits over his last three appearances against the San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies, with his ERA shooting from 2.42 to 3.45 in the process.
“I think there’s a possibility we send him to Orlando to get him an inning, get him back on the hill,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Mark Bowman of MLB.com on Sunday. “We’re also talking about maybe throwing him up here in a simulated game, but this time of year, I don’t know where you get hitters who want to face a guy throwing 97 [mph] and nasty like he is.”
The problem is that the only nasty part of Walden’s appearances as of late has been the results. Prior to allowing runs in his past three outings, he had surrendered runs in back-to-back outings only twice over the rest of the year.
This is no time to slump if you expect to pitch in the playoffs, and Gonzalez needs to keep that in mind as he assesses his best options for the upcoming series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mr. Walden, the Braves thank you for a mostly successful season, but you just didn’t get it done down the stretch.