Atlanta Braves All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel wasn’t available to pitch against the Phillies on Monday night, and now it looks as though he’ll miss further games, being listed by the club as day-to-day with shoulder soreness.
More pitching injury woes for a team that has had a decade’s worth in the early going of the 2014 season.
Whatever the Atlanta Braves need to do to turn around the voodoo hex placed on their pitching staff, they need to get busy doing it.
Kimbrel said in a press conference following Monday’s game that he wasn’t concerned, and that fans shouldn’t be either.
“There’s no reason to push it this early in the year,” Kimbrel said. “It’s something that doesn’t really hinder me on the field. Being a pitcher, things get sore now and then. It’s just a little uncomfortable. I’ll take a few days off and be ready to go.”
There are some pitchers on the Braves staff that they can replace, and even make do for an extended period of time without, but Kimbrel isn’t among them.
A testament to how important Kimbrel is to the Braves – He’s a three-time All-Star, led NL relievers with a 1.21 ERA and 50 saves in 2013, and in 237 appearances, he’s averaged 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Top that off with a 90.6 save percentage – the third-best in history among relievers with at least 150 opportunities, behind only Eric Gagne and former Brave, John Smoltz. [All stats via ESPN]