Atlanta Braves: Walks Are Still The Braves Main Issue

Atlanta Braves, Brian Snitker (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves, Brian Snitker (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves lost a heartbreaking game to the Reds last night. The game was marred with more walks and bad pitching, that some Braves fans have become accustomed to watching.

The culprit of last night’s debacle was Jesse Biddle. In the past it’s been Chad Sobotka or Shane Carle giving up leads or filling up the bases, because they can’t throw strikes. It’s still early enough to get it right, but it’s starting to feel as if the Atlanta Braves won’t be able to fix this problem.

The Atlanta Braves have the talent to compete for a playoff spot, if not a World Series bid. Well, the offense is good enough at least. And once Atlanta starters, Mike Foltynewicz most importantly, get healthy, the Braves should be in decent shape there too. The problem for this Braves team has been, and still is the bullpen.

Chad Sobotka, Shane Carle, and Jesse Biddle have been walk machines in the early part of the season. Sobotka and Biddle are averaging 7 walks per 9 innings. Carle, the pitcher who has struggled the most, is averaging 10 walks per 9 innings. This is a killer stat for the Braves and their bullpen. The guys who are tasked to come close the game out, can’t get out of their own way when it comes to putting guys on base.

If the Braves want to be a team that can compete at a high level, with high aspirations, the bullpen is going to have to work out these issues. The St. Louis Cardinals, the team with the best record in the NL, doesn’t have a reliever that is averaging more than 6 walks per 9 innings. Tampa Bay owners of the best record in the AL, has one reliever averaging over 5 walks per 9 innings. This is not a coincidence that the two best teams in baseball have good bullpens that don’t walk the bases loaded on a consistent basis.

Is the solution in the Atlanta Braves system already? Sean Newcomb could be an answer, but he was sent down to the minors to fix his walks issue. Touki Toussaint looked like a real answer a couple of weeks ago. However, after giving up seven runs in an inning and a third against the Indians, the Braves sent him back to the minors. Bryse Wilson was brought up when Touki went down, but he hasn’t been the savior yet. The Braves keep shuffling guys back and forth, looking for an answer that no one seems to have.

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The Atlanta Braves and Brian Snitker are going to have to find a solution to the walks problem. If not, the Braves won’t find much success this season. Luckily, for the Braves and Snitker, it’s still April. That means there is more than enough time, to find solutions or for the guys on the roster to get their heads in the right place. It’s not going to fix itself but if the walks continue, there will be no helping this Braves team make it to the playoffs.