With the trade deadline now having officially passed, the Atlanta Braves roster going forward for the remainder of the 2021 season is essentially set for a potential postseason run.
The Atlanta Braves made a few notable moves to areas of need at the deadline, in particular adding Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez to the bullpen. It is no secret that Atlanta needed to make at-least one addition to the bullpen, an area that the Braves have struggled at times this season.
With the Braves bullpen suddenly starting to come together in recent weeks, it certainly appears that the group could be past some of the struggles from earlier in the year. A big reason for this success is left-hander Tyler Matzek, a player that will be key to the potential success going forward of the Braves bullpen for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Tyler Matzek is key for the Atlanta Braves bullpen going forward.
Matzek was one of the best overall stories of the 2020 Atlanta Braves. Having not pitched in the big leagues since 2015, the now 30-year old left-hander was outstanding for the Braves bullpen a year ago posting a 2.79 ERA across 29 innings pitched.
Even after a rough start to this season, Matzek has been good overall posting a 2.70 ERA across 40 innings pitched. While the overall numbers have been strong, the left-hander has been up-and-down at times throughout the 2021 campaign.
After posting a 4.91 ERA during the month of April, Matzek countered with a perfect 0.00 ERA across nine innings during the month of May. That pattern has now repeated itself as Matzek then posted a 4.66 ERA during June, followed by a 0.87 ERA during the month of July.
Obviously that pattern means Matzek could be in store for a rough August, but could his bounce-back July be a jump-starter for the left-hander? When looking at important bullpen arms for the Braves going forward, Matzek certainly sticks out as a player who can pitch in numerous different roles.
Matzek as a pitcher has posted some impressive strikeout numbers dating back to last season, but has struggled with walks, especially this season. When looking at the Braves chances of making a run in the NL East over the next couple of weeks, the bullpen will play a massive role with Matzek a key piece.
No, Matzek won’t close games for the Braves, or even likely pitch in an 8th inning role with the recent acquisition of Rodriguez. Where the hard-throwing southpaw will be key going forward is as a consistent go-to option in high leverage situations, which in turn will make him a key piece for the Braves potential success for the remainder of the 2021 season.