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Braves bullpen collapses again as Atlanta loses to Diamondbacks 9-8

Once again, the Braves pitching staff failed the team. A six-run lead ended up turning into a one-run loss, and the Braves will be taking a frustrating trip back home to Atlanta.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For the second night in a row, Braves pitching (particularly the bullpen) turned out to be highly unreliable, as a six-run lead eventually turned into a two-run deficit. The game eventually ended 9-8 in favor of the Diamondbacks, but this is definitely a game that the Braves would love to have back.

What made this loss so painful was that, once again, this bad performance from the pitchers came during a great performance from the offense. Nick Markakis continued his onslaught of doubles by hitting another one in the first inning, and this one made it 1-0 Atlanta.

The Braves then proceeded to add on five more runs in the second inning. Cameron Maybin made a triumphant return to the lineup by hitting a sharp grounder up the right field line for a 2-RBI single. That made it 3-0, and then Freddie Freeman ended up bringing home both Maybin and Jace Peterson by smacking a three-run homer into the right field seats.

Despite the fact that the Braves were up by six at this point, I'm pretty sure that we all had a feeling that this game was was far from over, and that was due to the fact that the pitching has been shaky as of late. Today's result depended on Mike Foltynewicz making it deep into the game. If he could,then the Braves probably would've had a better shot at winning. Unfortunately, Folty was only able to make it through 5.2 innings, and it was due to the fact that the Diamondbacks just kept on chipping away at the Braves' large lead.

Atlanta added another run to their tally in the fourth inning thanks to a another home run from Freddie Freeman, but by the time Mike Foltynewicz exited the game, the Diamondbacks had cut the lead down to two. The sixth inning ended 7-5, and with the game now in the bullpen's hands, anxiety began to run high among the Braves' sympathizers.

The anxiety was warranted. The newly-promoted Cody Martin entered the game in the seventh inning and he immediately ran into trouble after giving up a leadoff double to A.J. Pollock. With one out, Yasmany Tomas dinked one into right field to bring home Pollock. At this point, Fredi Gonzalez decided to turn to his set-up man, Jim Johnson. Unfortunately, the first out that Johnson recorded was an RBI sacrifice fly from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This was preceded by an RBI single from Chris Owings, which meant that Salty's sac fly put the Diamondbacks in the lead.

Jim Johnson stayed in the game for the eighth inning as well, but things didn't get better with time. Johnson once again ran into trouble in this inning, and one of his mistakes ended up costing the Braves big-time. This mistake didn't come on the mound, though; It came in the field. After fielding a grounder, Johnson tried to throw it to third base in order to get Nick Ahmed out. Unfortunately, Johnson threw it away, and Ahmed ended up scoring to make it 9-7 Arizona.

What made that error sting even more was the fact that A.J. Pierzynski was able to hit a homer in the top of the ninth inning to make it 9-8. That would've tied the game if not for the error, but we really can't complain about failings at this point in the game when the team lost a six-run lead to begin with. Needless to say, the Braves weren't able to tie it in the ninth inning, and the game ended 9-8.

The Braves were in position to win all thee games in this series, but instead they'll only be coming away with one victory. Today's loss was painful, and also annoying because, well, losing a six-run lead absolutely stinks. There's no other way to put it. This quote from Fredi after the game basically sums up everyone's feelings about the bullpen at this point:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="">#Braves</a> Fredi G: &quot;10-game trip, I think our bullpen got exposed a little bit, or some areas of the bullpen got exposed. We need to fix that&quot;</p>&mdash; David O&#39;Brien (@DOBrienAJC) <a href="">June 3, 2015</a></blockquote>

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We'lll have to see how they go about fixing this, because this team cannot afford to keep on throwing away good offensive performances like they did today.

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="">FanGraphs</a></span>

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