Even when the Atlanta Braves win they seem to lose a little right now. With the victory in the opening game of the Chicago Cubs‘ series there were problems still abounding. The offense was still not very good. If Dan Uggla is no good because he doesn’t hit, what is to be done when the other guys also don’t hit in the second base hole? On top of the offensive struggles, the early part of the season has allowed Braves closer Craig Kimbrel to look almost human.
What are the Braves to do about their closer giving up the lead a few times early in the season? This is actually a very easy answer. They are to do nothing. John Axford for the Cleveland Indians has been one of if not the best closer early in 2014 in all of MLB. On the same night Kimbrel blew one, Axford nearly did as well. What does this have to do with Kimbrel you might ask?
Kimbrel controlled his inning even though he gave up the lead and finished the inning with the Braves still tied while Axford had to come out of the inning and was unable to complete the job. The only thing harder for a closer than closing a game is having to keep it tied once they give up the lead. That could be especially true when it involves a miss-play like the error by Justin Upton which could have been key in allowing the run to score. In spite of the situation, Kimbrel kept the Cubs to one run and allowed his team to regain the win.
Besides all of that, while the Braves would chose for Kimbrel to have zero struggles if given the choice, having him struggle a little at the first of the season is certainly better than at the end. Add to all of the good points we all know about Kimbrel the fact that the Braves have been on such an atrocious run of late that he has had very few chances to close games and you have all the reasons in the world not to worry about him.