I don’t think I’ve had a love-hate relationship quite like the one I’ve had with Brian Snitker, and his comments about the bullpen after yesterday’s game are a perfect example of why.
Brian Snitker said the Braves will not pitch Kenley Jansen unless they have a lead or are in a tie game. They will not, as he said, "go chase something when we're down."
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) August 18, 2022
And to avoid any confusion, here are Snitker’s complete comments after yesterday’s game, courtesy of Mark Bowman from MLB.com:
“We have too many games to play,” Snitker said. “When we do that, it means he’s not going to be available to pitch [the next day]. So, we just need other guys to step up and do that. You can’t do that. You’re just going to kill these guys. That’s why you have that many [relievers]. We’re not going to chase something when we’re down. Kenley is going to pitch when we’re even or up. That’s it.”
Before I go off on a rant, I want to say Snitker is right about one thing. You can’t treat the entire season like it’s October, or you’ll burn out before you even get to the playoffs. The Braves have made that mistake before, and it’s why their guys were so fresh last season when they were needed most.
With that being said, there are exceptions to the rule. With an offense like the Braves, it is criminal to keep pitching Jackson Stephens in a one-run game in the ninth. You have to give your guys a shot, especially when it’s August and you are facing a team 3.5 games ahead of you in the division.
You want to give the guys some extra rest? How about doing that by earning a first-round bye and winning the division.
On top of that, Snitker went ahead and used A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias the night before with a five-run lead. AND Kenley Jansen hasn’t pitched since Sunday. It’s not like we are asking the guy to pitch on back-to-back nights.
Once again, I don’t think Snitker is an idiot. He has a World Series ring for a reason and does a lot more good for this team than he does bad. But when it comes to these bullpen decisions, Brian Snitker’s thought process is flawed.