It would be very easy to claim that two straight losses that the Atlanta Braves have suffered to the Boston Red Sox has just been the law of averages. After all, the Red Sox had lost ten straight coming into the series and no team is going to lose many more than that. It could simply be that the Braves are falling victim to the same momentum shifting turn around that they themselves enjoyed just one week ago. It could be just that simple to explain.
The fact of the matter is not nearly that simple to shrug off for this team however. Even after the problems in the opening game against the Red Sox, the Braves had the second best bullpen in the majors and the best bullpen in the National League going into game two versus the Sox. That is good news for many reasons. The best thing about a great bullpen is handing the ball to them with a one-run lead in the seventh inning and watching them take it home.
Usually that is what happens for the Braves but that is not at all what has happened in the last two games. On Monday the bullpen gave up a lead after lazy play by Ian Thomas. He has potential but there is no excuse to not be at the bag on that play. Tuesday saw the Braves just get killed in the ‘pen with four runs crossing the plate to turn a 3 – 2 victory into a 6 – 3 loss.
As the Braves head up to Boston for the second half of this two and two series, they had better take a serious look at the bullpen. If they have been good in the ‘pen it hasn’t just been because the same guys have been good. This bullpen shifts around and changes when the need arises. That need has arisen again. At least one or two of these guys should probably be given time to retool in the minors while others get the shot in the bigs and the Braves try to hang on to the last shreds of the momentum they had two days ago.