Billy Wagner dominating on verge of 400th save, but Braves are riding him awfully hard

3 Comments

When the Braves signed Billy Wagner this offseason there was some thought that they’d have to be cautious with the 38-year-old’s workload in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.
Instead he’s on pace for 70 appearances and 67 innings, which is pretty standard for a modern closer, and the Braves ramped up the workload last week by using Wagner for an inning Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Rarely do teams have a reliever work four straight days, let alone a 38-year-old reliever not that far removed from major surgery, but Wagner tossed a scoreless inning each time, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five.
He also notched a win and three saves in the four appearances, and as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes Wagner is now one save away from joining Trevor Hoffman (596), Mariano Rivera (542), Lee Smith (478), and John Franco (424) in the 400-save club. I’d say that would increase his Hall of Fame case in the eyes of voters, but as the greatest left-handed reliever of all time his case should be obvious anyway.
Wagner has said that he plans to retire after the season, so there isn’t much long-term risk to running him out there on back-to-back-to-back-to-back days, but with the Braves sitting atop the NL East with the league’s best record there should be plenty of incentive to keep him healthy and sharp for the stretch run and playoffs.
So far so good, as Wagner is 5-0 with 14 saves and has been amazing with a 1.23 ERA, .168 opponents’ batting average, and 43/12 K/BB ratio in 29.1 innings, but it’ll be interesting to see if Bobby Cox loosens the reins a bit after leaning on him so heavily last week.

The Padres rode a double-decker tour bus to AT&T Park

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Sunday morning, the Padres planned to take a bus from their hotel in San Francisco to AT&T Park ahead of their afternoon game. The bus never showed. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reports that team director of player and staff services TJ Lasita flagged down an empty San Francisco tour bus, negotiated a rate, and got his players an impromptu ride to the ballpark.

The Padres’ Twitter account and Annie Heilbrunn of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweeted pictures and video:

The Padres and Giants are playing the rubber match of their three-game series this afternoon. The Padres will then travel to Arlington for a series with the Rangers. The Giants will welcome the Rockies.