Just 48 hours ago, the Braves were in sole possession of first place in the NL East. Now, as the Braves look to get back on track against the Giants, they have lost two straight games and are now 1 1⁄2 games behind the Mets in the division.
While there obviously is still plenty of games remaining for the Braves to eventually win the division and hopefully earn a postseason bye, there also is a relevant concern that continues to emerge during the home stretch of the season.
Jansen has now blown three of his past seven save opportunities.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) September 11, 2022
Kenley Jansen’s blown save in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game was his third blown save in his last seven appearances. While stretches like this occur for many MLB relievers nearly every season, Jansen’s struggles have now lingered for an extended period of time.
Consider his production before and after his stint on the injured list in early July:
Before injury stint (went on IL on 6/26) :
32 2⁄3 IP, 2.17 FIP, 2.61 xFIP, 12.95 Ks/9, 2.20 BBs/9
Since return from injury (returned from IL 7/13):
19 1⁄3 IP, 4.70 FIP, 5.12 xFIP, 10.07 Ks/9, 5.07 BBs/9
Whether or not Jansen’s latest blown save will lead to any changes in how he is used or Atlanta’s closer situation remains to be seen. What is evident is that, at least right now, Jansen’s inconsistences make it hard to trust him in high leverage situations, especially against quality competition.
On a more positive note, one player who continues to improve and play at an elite level is Michael Harris II. Harris produced the first multi-homer game of his career on Sunday. Harris II and fellow 2022 rookie star Julio Rodriguez sharing the same field over the weekend in Seattle had to be a treat for fans. However, the level that Harris II is playing at offensively currently is not just impressive for a rookie. He legitimately has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the past six weeks.
Since August 1st, Michael Harris II is tied for 2nd in fWAR among MLB position players. He is 4th in wOBA, 3rd in OPS, and 3rd in wRC+. Only Aaron Judge has produced more value among position players over this time frame. While Spencer Strider has been incredible since joining the Braves rotation, if Harris II continues this level of production throughout September, the NL ROY race could be one of the biggest award debates in recent history.
- Former Braves reliever Anthony Varvaro tragically died in an automobile accident on Sunday.
We are deeply saddened on the passing of former Braves pitcher Anthony Varvaro. Anthony, 37, played parts of six seasons in the majors, including four with Atlanta.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 11, 2022
He voluntarily retired from MLB in 2016 to become a Port Authority police officer. pic.twitter.com/YSoisa79o4
- J.R. Ritchie and Darius Vines had excellent performances over the weekend on the farm.
- Brad Rowland and Eric Cole discuss another roller coaster weekend for the Braves and what it means moving forward in the latest edition of the Battery Power Podcast.
- Albert Pujols hit career home run number 697 on Sunday, earning him sole possession of 4th place on the MLB all-time home run list.
- While Zac Gallen’s scoreless innings streak ended Sunday, he did produce the seventh longest such streak in MLB history.
- Padres’ reliever Drew Pomeranz is likely done for the 2022 season.
- The Phillies could be a suitor for current Red Sox shortstop Xander Boagerts this offseason if he elects free agency.