Atlanta Braves most valuable reliever? It could be a Ty.

Unheralded Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Tyler Matzek. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Unheralded Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Tyler Matzek. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

Who do you trust the most in the Atlanta Braves bullpen? It could be a guy who couldn’t trust himself for years.

Tyler Matzek‘s career was in serious jeopardy about five years ago when he couldn’t figure out the demons plaguing his mind while on the mound.  It took a lot of time, patience, and perseverance, but he’s now found a home and a role with the Atlanta Braves.

The former Rockies 1st round pick from 2009 seemed to be on his way in 2014 when he threw over 180 innings as a starter with identical 4.05 ERA marks at both AAA and the majors.

Then things started to come awry with command.  ERA values of 14.29, 6.75, and 9.00 (as late as 2019 at Gwinnett) were common.

Even after getting his head ‘fixed’, there was a period where he still had to un-do the damage done to his mechanics as part of trying everything possible to find the plate.

The Braves gave him the chance to do that, and in 2020 he won a spot in the bullpen — finally back in the majors.  He has not disappointed.

A mid-game anchor to the Atlanta Braves bullpen?

While so many others have faltered here in 2021, though, Matzek has taken it up a notch, and a 2.20 ERA only gives you a small piece of the story:

  • 55 appearances, 49.1 innings.
  • A streak of 16 games in a row with 1+ strikeouts
  • 47 appearances allowing no earned runs
  • 33 appearances allowing no walks (and the 5 games with multiple walks allowed have not derailed his comeback — something that would not have happened 5 years ago)
  • 2 homers allowed all year.
  • .163 average against and 1.16 WHIP

There are cases you can make for Luke Jackson (lower ERA) or possibly Edgar Santana or Jesse Chavez (lower WHIP), but Matzek has been the pitcher put into games at virtually any point whenever Brian Snitker needed a stopper.

Related Story. A Key Member of the Pen. light

Today was a case in point.  With Ian Anderson running out of gas, Matzek came into a 3-0 game with a runner on second.

It did take him one batter to find the groove; but after a walk, he struck out Wilmer Flores to end a threat and shut down the Giants.

From that point, his mates in the pen started with clean innings and shut down the best-winning team in the National League… but it was Matzek that was able to set the tone.

You got the wrong guy!. dark. Next

The question was asked in these pages back in February:  ‘can [Matzek] repeat his dominance?‘  Clearly, he has done so… and the Atlanta Braves have been the beneficiary of his renewed success.