Atlanta Braves Kimbrel’s run has been something to behold

Newson August 26th, 2011No Comments

On the way to converting his 40th save Tuesday night to tie the major league rookie record and extend his ridiculously long scoreless streak, Craig Kimbrel gave up a bloop hit to Aramis Ramirez with two out in the ninth inning.

It was a pitch Kimbrel said was located poorly and could have been hit a lot farther, so he felt fortunate.

Kimbrel Pitcher Highfive

Kimbrel tied the major league rookie record with his 40th save Tuesday in a 5-4 win against the Cubs.

Well, it says something about Kimbrel’s nasty repertoire that he can miss locate a pitch and have it only blooper by Ramirez, because the hottest hitter in baseball right now could probably count on one hand the number of mistake pitches he’s done that to in the past couple of weeks.

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Atlanta Braves Kimbrel hits 1-0-0 on Turner Field radar gun

Newson August 23rd, 2011No Comments

For all the numbers Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is racking up these days – how about this one? The kid went triple digits.

Kimbrel threw a 100 mph fastball to Justin Upton in the ninth inning of his save Friday night, according to the radar gun at Turner Field. His 0-1 four-seam fastball registered 100 mph. It went for a ball, but it must have had the desired effect. Kimbrel threw two more sliders, 10 mph slower, and on the second one, Upton grounded out just in front of the plate.

Kimbrel stranded two runners and collected his National League rookie record 38th save of the year, with what is believed to be a first for Kimbrel: 1-0-0.

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Kimbrel’s attitude makes him cut above rest

Newson August 22nd, 2011No Comments

As they were preparing to introduce Craig Kimbrel to his first Major League Spring Training in 2010, members of the Braves organization were referring to him as “the right-handed Billy Wagner.”

It was a convenient comparison, given that Atlanta had just signed Wagner to serve as its closer. Those who had already seen Kimbrel understood that he possessed the same kind of high-powered fastball and sharp curveball that Wagner displayed on his way to becoming one of the game’s finest closers.

But the accuracy of the comparison was not fully realized until this year, when Kimbrel assumed the closer role and proved, like Wagner, that he’s both fearless and capable of overcoming the inevitable adversity that accompanies the role.

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Kimbrel, Freeman act out at Fan Cave

Newson August 22nd, 2011No Comments

Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman said it was a tough gig. And they weren’t talking about any race for Rookie of the Year, which, frankly, they won’t discuss at all.

When the Braves asked them to be at something called MLB Fan Cave at 11:30 ET Friday morning, nobody told these naïve rookies they would have to go Kevin Costner on anybody, even if “For The Love of the Game” is Kimbrel’s favorite sports move.

“Had no idea what Fan Cave was or what this was about,” said Freeman.

Mike O’Hara, between gigs in Hollywood and loving every minute of a “job” he won out of 10,000 applicants to watch baseball at the MLB Fan Cave from first pitch to the last out of every single game of the 2011 season, could have told the two young Braves that acting for a living might even be tougher than winning the National League East. But whatever might have been O’Hara’s secret fear of growing an already-oversized pool of thespians by two, he resisted any urge to be mean and tell the baseball players not to quit their day jobs.

Not that Kimbrel exactly saw himself as Gary Cooper doing Lou Gehrig.

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Kimbrel joins Braves’ crew of NL All-Stars

Newson July 15th, 2011No Comments

Craig Kimbrel had to wait a little longer than he might have hoped, but the Braves’ rookie closer learned Sunday night that he has indeed gained his first All-Star selection.

Kimbrel was added to the National League’s pitching staff after Matt Cain made his scheduled start Sunday night and consequently made himself unavailable to pitch in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

With Kimbrel’s addition, the Braves now have five players selected to compete in this year’s All-Star Game. Catcher Brian McCann, right-handed starter Jair Jurrjens and left-handed setup man Jonny Venters will also compete in this year’s Midsummer Classic. Chipper Jones had to pull out Saturday when he opted to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee.

When the original All-Star selections were announced last Sunday, many of the Braves were upset to learn Kimbrel and Tommy Hanson were not included. While both certainly possess the credentials, Kimbrel seemingly got the nod because NL manager Bruce Bochy preferred to add a reliever who could get loose quicker in the middle of a game.

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Huntsville’s Craig Kimbrel named to National League All-Star team as replacement pitcher

Newson July 15th, 2011No Comments

Craig Kimbrel stood at his locker in the Braves’ clubhouse last Thursday afternoon, answering the question he had answered dozens of times before.

Craig Kimbrel and Pitcher

Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel collects another save for Braves

“If it happens, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine. I’ll go home and see my family,” he said when queried about the possibility he’d receive a late invitation to the Major League All-Star Game.

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Kimbrel Makes It Five Braves All-Stars

Newson July 15th, 2011No Comments

The Braves will have five All-Star representatives for the second consecutive year. National League manager Bruce Bochy named relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel to the team to replace San Francisco’s Matt Cain, who started the Giants final game before the break Sunday night against the New York Mets.

Kimbrel, 23, set a Major League rookie record for saves prior to the All-Star Break with 28. He leads all MLB relief pitchers with 70 strikeouts and has not allowed a run in his last 14 appearances. Kimbrel’s 28 saves also lead the Majors.

He joins fellow pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Jonny Venters as first-time All-Stars representing the Braves in Tuesday’s game in Arizona. Third baseman Chipper Jones and catcher Brian McCann are the other Braves named to the National League team.