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Braves bullpen showing signs of improvement

It was a brutal first two months, but things are finally looking up.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

From opening day to mid-June, the Braves' bullpen was arguably the worst in baseball. With an ERA and FIP in the high 4's, it seemed it was only a matter of time until the lead would slip away and a win would turn into a loss.

On the season, Braves relievers have a collective 4.19 ERA (ranks 27th in MLB) and 4.03 FIP (24th). Those numbers still aren't very good.

Check out these numbers from the last 30 days, though: 83 innings pitched, 3.04 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 8.24 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9.

Jason Grilli has proven to be a terrific pickup for the front office after a rough year in 2014. Jim Johnson has locked down the eighth inning with pretty good success, while Luis Avilan (3.13 ERA and 2.94 FIP) has rebounded quite nicely. David Aardsma is still pretty new with the club, but I've liked what I've seen so far. He should have a role for the rest of the season.

Reinforcements could be on the way. Arodys Vizcaino and Andrew McKirahan are both working in the minor leagues after PED suspensions, but there's a good chance they will be called up to Atlanta around the all-star break as long as they don't get hit hard in Gwinnett. Both guys throw hard and could be late-inning options should Grilli or Johnson get traded.

No one is going to confuse this year's group of relievers with the incredible ones headlined by Kimbrel, Venters and O'Flaherty, but the last month has been a big step in the right direction.

Now you'll excuse me when the bullpen blows a 4-2 lead against the Phillies today.

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