Atlanta Braves: Is It Time to Start Worrying About Craig Kimbrel?

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 16: Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves celebrates beating the Kansas City Royals at Turner Field on April 16, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. All uniformed team members are wearing jersey number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The Braves won 6-3.  (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

If there was one word to describe the pitching output of Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel last season, it was 'automatic'.

If there was one word to describe the last week on the mound for the right-hander, it would be 'concerning'. 

After giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, Kimbrel was charged with his third blown save of the season. Kimbrel blew just three saves all of last season. 

Kimbrel was hit for a home run on Friday in his blown save against the Mets. In that game, Kimbrel conceded a solo home run to David Wright before Jordan Walden gave up two runs in the 10th inning to hand the Braves the loss. 

With Kimbrel giving up the home runs to Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo on Tuesday and to Wright on Friday, he tied his total from the last two seasons for home runs conceded.

So what does all of this mean for the rest of the Braves season, if anything? 

In the 'what have you done for me lately?' culture that we live in today, some fans have set themselves into panic about the status of Kimbrel, but the realistic fans out there realize that closers sometime go through rough times like this. 

There is nothing wrong with the velocity of Kimbrel at the moment and in-between the two blown saves in the last week, he put away the Reds on Monday night. 

Kimbrel is still one of the elite closers in baseball today and there is doubt that he and pitching coach Roger McDowell will figure out what is wrong with the right-hander's mechanics. 

If something is wrong mechanically with Kimbrel, it has to be something small that he and McDowell, not the average fan, can pinpoint on tape. 

By going through the tape of his against the Mets and Reds, McDowell and Kimbrel should be able to hone in on what exactly is going on with the mechanics of the Braves closer.

If pitcher and pitching coach are able to figure out the small in the mechanics of Kimbrel, then there will be nothing to worry about.

However, if Kimbrel continues to blow save after save in the next week or two, it will be time to panic about the Braves hurler.

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