Atlanta Braves Have Better Bullpen in NLDS Matchup with Los Angeles Dodgers

By Zach Slotter
craig kimbrel bullpen
Daniel Shirey – USA Today Sports

The Atlanta Braves as a team have had a very good year. The lineup has had its ups and downs, mainly because of struggles from Dan Uggla and BJ Upton, but the pitching has been solid with the best ERA in all of Major League Baseball. Even with injuries to Brandon Beachy and Tim Hudson the Braves’ starting rotation has been solid, led by the trio of Kris Medlan, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor.

But when comparing this team to their opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the unit that stands out as superior is the bullpen.

For starters, the Braves have Craig Kimbrel, who could arguably be the best closer in baseball. He finished the year with 50 saves, a 1.21 ERA, and came just two strikeouts short of his third straight 100 strikeout season as a reliever. He is basically unhittable, and if the Braves have a lead, expect it to be protected.

When trying to bridge the gap from starter to Kimbrel, the Braves have plenty of options.

Luis Avilan takes over the role of dominant left handed specialist from Johnny Venters with his 1.52 ERA on the season and lefties hitting just .144 against him. From the right hand side they offer the duo of David Carpenter and Jordan Walden. Both are averaging well over one strikeout per inning. Carpenter holds righties to a .183 batting average while Walden excels with not giving up hits while at Turner Field, holding opponents to a .185 batting average.

So no matter how you look at it, home or away, lefty or righty, the Braves can throw pretty much anything at you. If the starter can get through six innings with the lead, expect this stellar bullpen to shut the door against the Dodgers.

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google.  

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