Braves history: Kenshin Kawakami wasn't as bad as you remember

The Atlanta Braves did Kenshin Kawakami dirty. He wasn't as bad as you think.
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Kawakami's first season was a success

Kenshin Kawakami
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets / Jared Wickerham/GettyImages

Kawakami's first season with the Braves wasn't a resounding success, but it was far from a disappointment. The righty had a 3.86 ERA in 32 games (25 starts) and compiled 156.1 innings.

Things got off to a rocky start for the former NPB MVP, as he had a 7.06 ERA in his first four starts, but he turned things around during his May and June, pitching 56.2 innings to the tune of a 3.18 ERA.

He had a slightly rougher July (4.73 ERA) but then had his best month in August, pitching 37.2 innings and only allowing 12 runs (2.87 ERA).

But then he was moved to the bullpen at the start of September. The Braves claimed it was because they had too many starters and that Kawakami had pitched more than he had in Japan but the righty was not happy with the decision.

2010 was even worse

Kenshin Kawakami
Kansas City Royals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

With the Braves extending Tim Hudson after the season, it looked like Kawakami might find himself in the same rotation crunch he was in at the end of the season. However, the Braves dealt Javier Vazquez to the Yankees in a trade that netted a fan-favorite (to hate), Melky Cabrera.

Unfortunately, the then 34-year-old got off to another rough start. He had a 5.48 ERA through the first month of the season, but he was able to maintain a 4.13 through the next two months.

After this, for whatever reason, the Braves decided to pretend he didn't exist. He only pitched once in July and was sent down to the minors in August. He was recalled at the end of the month but only saw action in two games.

On the whole, Kawakami had a 515 ERA in 87.1 innings. However, his 4.35 FIP suggested he was likely getting unlucky. Additionally, the Braves staff might have been overemphasizing the Win-Loss record, as Kawakami only had one win and a .091 win percentage.