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Sep 9, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Fredi Gonzalez Brings In Craig Kimbrel In The 8th...Why??

Twitter was going insane on Thursday night when they saw Craig Kimbrel run out of the bullpen with the bases loaded and the game tied in the 8th inning against the Red Sox.  The tweets were going fast but for the most part it seemed like Braves Nation enjoyed the call made by Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez.  But why I ask?

Prior to tonight, Kimbrel only had four previous games where he was in the game for more than one inning.

June 15, 2010 - Against the Tampa Bay Rays in Kimbrel’s rookie season down 10-3, he comes in to pitch two innings and doesn’t allow a run.

April 21, 2011 - Comes in to pitch the 9th inning but blows the save against the Dodgers.  He pitches the 10th inning mad and strikes out the side.

September 5, 2012 - Kimbrel is on the mound for the final out of the 8th inning against the Rockies to strike out Jordan Pacheco.  Then was back on the hill in the 9th inning to pick up the save.  He struck out the side in the 9th inning.

August 25, 2013 - Came in against the Cardinals in the 8th inning with two outs to get out Yadier Molina.  Gets three quick outs in the 9th to pick up the save.

Those games above were completely different than what we saw on Thursday.  Kimbrel came into the game in the 8th inning with the game TIED!  Not a save situation, not a chance to win but a chance to not lose the game in the 8th inning.

Kimbrel was asked after the game whether it bothered him or not coming in prior to the 9th inning.  He responded with “No it didn’t bother me, what bothered me was the lead off walks.”

The only reason I can come up with to why Fredi brought Kimbrel into the game was that Craig was warming up in the bullpen and Fredi didn’t want to sit him after he was already warmed up.

“You put him in a situation where you bring him in for the 8th inning and maybe it was a thing where sitting down and getting back up wasn’t conducive but we had to try it,” Fredi said after the game.  I thought the situation called for our big game pitcher and he did a nice job getting Ross with the bases loaded but maybe that sitting time hurt him”.

Craig took his first loss of the season.

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