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Ah, the second week of the baseball season. It makes the fantasy owners have the kind of feeling you get on January 2nd. The booze, excitement and pageantry has worn off from the big day(s), and it suddenly dawns on you that you have an entire year of work ahead of you. Buckle up, fantasy owners. The season has just begun. If you dumped Russell Martin in your league already, stop reading because I don’t have time for you.

Although I will primarily focus my energy on all things fantasy here, I want to write a special piece today. I want to use this forum to officially put a group of players from my favorite ballclub on blast. Since I know they read this blog, and my writings specifically, I hope that this calling-out will inspire them to change their erroneous ways and get it the f*** together. So without further adieu, I would like to officially put the Braves incompetent bullpen on blast. This group of knuckleheads sometimes can’t even record an out before a new bumbling fool has to charge in to replace him and give up even more runs. I am done. I am sick. I am tired, and I am done being sick and tired of these shenanigans!!!

There they are...in all their blurry glory.... There they are…in all their blurry glory….

To give you a little context, I grew up in the bustling metropolis of Birmingham, Alabama. Professional sports don’t really exist in Alabama (unless you count the bankrolled football players of Alabama and Auburn) outside of the multiple failed football franchises that have landed there. See: Birmingham Barracudas and Birmingham Bolts. The closest thing we have is adopting Atlanta teams, which is precisely what I did around 1995 with the Braves. Convenient, eh? However, are you really a bandwagon fan if you keep cheering for them post-success like I do currently?  But I digress. Now that we’ve got the Let’s meet the clowns and jesters who currently make up my beloved Braves bullpen.

The Jokers

Actual photo of Josh Collmenter Actual photo of Josh Collmenter

Josh Collmenter: Let’s get this one out of the way. I truly had no idea he was even on the ballclub until he reared his ugly head during a game this season. Collmenter has been relevant exactly once during his career, and that was in 2014 with the Diamondbacks where he rocked a 3.46 ERA as a starter and struck out like 12 dudes all year. BUM.

Eric O’Flaherty: This is his second go-around with the Braves, and I can totally understand why the Braves drank the Kool-Aid last season. In his first stint with Atlanta from 2010-2013, he posted several solid years out of the bullpen. However, he tossed an astounding 6.91 ERA over 28 2/3 innings last year and still managed to secure a job for the 2017 season. JOKER.

Chaz Roe: Just wait to hear what I have to say about this dude. Atlanta is his 4th team in 4 years.  He strikes out a lot of guys, but he walks just as many. That is not good. ASS HAT.

Ian Krol: He had a good year…in 2013 with the Nationals. He no longer plays for the Nationals. However, Krol was a tiny bright spot on a piss-poor squad last season with a 9.88 K/9 and 3.18 ERA last season. Still….CLOWN SHOES.

Jose Ramirez: We don’t have a lot of stats to blast him about because he hasn’t thrown a ton of MLB innings. He has sported a solid K/9 throughout his minor league career and usually works a mid-3s ERA, which is useful. Less so than the others but still…FOOL.

Arodys Vizcaino: They picked him up from the Cubs back in 2014, and now he promises to shat all over the brand new ballpark somewhere not in downtown Atlanta. He strikes a lot of guys out but allows copious amounts of runs in the process. That is not a good thing. DISGRACE.

Jim Johnson: The supposed “closer” of the staff was actually dominant for the Orioles from 2012-2013. He had back-to-back 50 save seasons in those years, but he now makes his money closing games for a team that will struggle to get to .500 this season. OLD MAN RIVER.

So, now that we’ve met the guys who wouldn’t even make the AAA club on most teams, let’s review what they’ve done so far and give them their proper blasting. Spoiler: these guys have stunk. It is worth noting that the offense is not bad for the Braves this season. Kemp and Freeman have considerable pop, and the future is bright with guys like Dansby Swanson in the majors and Ozzie Albies right on the cusp. However, you can’t win games if your bullpen throws up all over itself every single game. Let’s start with Opening Day and see how the bullpen has done just that so far this year.

April 3rd-Game 1 @ Mets

Ah, Opening Day! A day full of promise. A day where every time still has at least a sliver of hope. Teheran pitches a fantastic 6 innings where he struck out 6, gave up 4 hits, and stranded 3 walked batters. Enter: Bullpen. Hope you popped a Rolaids because here comes Ian “Crawdad” Krol. I just made that nickname up. Anyways, he promptly ruins Teheran’s start with a solid 3 earned runs off 2 hits and a walk. Not to be outdone, FREAKING CHAZ ROE CAN’T EVEN RECORD AN OUT. The moron literally is given the hook without recording an out. Eric O’Flaherty charges in to save the day and gives up 2 more runs. GUYS. GUYS. What the hell just happened?! Jose Ramirez, who is not the competent one who plays for the Indians, FINALLY records the 3rd out of the 7th, but not before it is suddenly 6-0. A beautiful start by Teheran is flushed down the toilet, and the Braves are a resounding 0-1.

Chaz Roe looking on contemplating his lack of talent. Chaz Roe looking on contemplating his lack of talent.

April 5th-Game 2 @ Mets

Ok, shake it off. Opening Day was a disaster, but today is a new day. In fact, the day off on Tuesday was probably just what the doctor ordered after the bullpen did their best to fill up an entire Baseball’s Best Bloopers reel on Day 1. Game 2 was totally fine. In fact, the ragtag collection of has-beens and wash-ups combined to pitch 6 innings of shutout baseball to secure the 3-1 win in extras. Ok, not bad guys! I think you’re still all a couple of glorified minor leaguers, but this is a step in the right direction. Maybe I should re-think this whole “you guys suck” article!

April 6th-Game 3 @ Mets

Oh, buddy. Just when you thought it was safe. Granted, starter Jaime Garcia didn’t exactly re-write the record books with his start, but here comes the bullpen again. It’s 4-1 Mets in the 7th, but the Braves are not out of it yet. Lo and behold, it’s Chaz Roe again. Now, before the season, there was even talk that this dunce was going to close because he had good strike out stuff. Just for the sheer comedy gold, I actually would have liked to see that. Anyways, back to the game at hand. Chaz Roe records his first out of the 2017 season in this one, but do not worry. He still gave up a run because he is a AA Mississippi Brave masquerading as an MLB-level reliever. Eric O’Flaherty’s washed-up carcass pitched a clean 8th inning, but it was too late. The damage had been done as the Braves lose the series to the Mets 2 games to 1.

April 7th-Game 4 @ Pittsburgh

We’ve moved on to Pittsburgh. New York was not kind to us to open the season, so maybe the scent of sandwiches with fries on them and pierogies will inspire the bullpen to great things. Oh, hey, yinz guys! There’s Andrew McCutchen! He used to be good! Anyways, have hope Tomahawk wavers because Game 1 vs. the Pirates features Mike Foltynewicz.

Side note: I love Out of the Park Baseball. It’s a baseball sim game that is mind-blowing and awesome and you should play it if you have no life. My fictitious Braves franchise was built around Freeman, Rafael Devers and Folty, whom I had signed to a 9-year, $150 million contract. It worked out pretty well, and we won a World Series. Go buy the game.

Snap back to reality. Folty is one of the bright young pitchers that make Braves fans dream of a World Series soon, but he had a less than stellar opening game. What’s more concerning is he only lasted 3 2/3 innings. BULLPEN TIME! Eric O’Flaherty puts together his second straight, competent outing but Josh Collmenter makes his season debut right after. Josh Collmenter. I feel like I don’t even need to rail on the guy because just saying his name sends a shudder down my spine. 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (both earned), 2 homeruns. That’s not good, CRAPMENTER. AND THEN….IT’S ANOTHER CHAZ ROE SIGHTING. Have we seriously not learned our lesson with this guy? Another outing leads to another run for Roe, who will now sport a 9 ERA after 3 appearances. The Braves actually made a furious comeback in the 8th, but none of that matters because God is dead and up is down. The Braves bullpen is a bunch of cretins. 5-4 Pirates.

April 8th-Game 5 @ Pittsburgh

It’s R.A. Dickey day. The knuckleball wonder. It’s 4-3 Pirates after 3, and it looks like the offense brought the lumber to counteract the horrible pitching. Dickey got left in maybe a bit too long in this one as he gives up 6 R (3 earned) in his 5 2/3 IP. Ian Krol and Jose “not the good one” Ramirez combine to actually give up 1 hit over 2 1/3 IP, but they are still a couple of mouth-breathers. Braves lose again.

April 9th-Game 6 @ Pittsburgh

The Pirates are going for the sweep on the first Sunday of the young season. The Braves come out swinging with 2 runs in the top of the 1st. Teheran takes the mound and confidence is riding sky high. 7 spectacular innings later, and it appears the Braves are really in a position to avoid the sweep. The Pirates score 2 unearned on Teheran, but no matter! The Braves can do this! Enter: Arodys Vizcaino. 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. If I could, I would insert the little hand clap emoji in between all of those words. Jim Johnson, the “closer,” comes in to shut the door, walks two, and gives up the game-tying run to blow the game like a Thai…nevermind. We go into extras and that means Jose “I don’t play for the Indians” Ramirez is back. He does his best Chaz Roe impression, fails to record an out, and gives up a 2-run, walk-off dong to Starling Marte. The simpleton Ramirez has ensured a sweep at the hands of the Pirates.

So, the first week of a very long season has ended with the Braves at 1-5. They lost a few close ones this week and could very easily have a winning record had it not been for these bums in the pen. I am sure they are terrific guys. I’m sure I’d probably grab a beer with more than one of them. However, I do not want them to keep pitching for my favorite team. The early season struggles are not something I think will correct itself as the season goes on, unfortunately. I am very worried by the fact that Josh Collmenter has a job. I am concerned for this season, which had a sliver of hope a mere week ago. The Braves start a new series tonight in Miami. I hope the warm temperatures and excellent Cuban cuisine does them well and the bullpen decides to pitch like competent major leaguers, but will not be holding my breath. I have to work tonight and will miss most of the game. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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