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Is Braves bullpen as bad as it seems?

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Updated: April 17, 2003, 5:55 PM ET
By Jim Baker
Bobby Cox has a great quote in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "If you're only looking at stats," he said, "you can make them say anything." Are there really a wide-range of things a 6.06 ERA can say? That's the figure currently sported by the Braves bullpen.

As David O'Brien points out, few men in baseball rely on their bullpen as much as Cox, so Atlanta's early struggles are especially vexing to him. Did the team catch lightning in a bottle with last year's great relieving unit? Was it just one of those things (the Braves' 2.60 relief ERA was the best in baseball) that happens once in awhile, where a group of men put together the best patches of their careers, or is Leo Mazzone truly the miracle worker? Here are the Braves' main 2002 relievers and their fates so far this year:

Pitcher: 2002 ERA/2003 ERA
Chris Hammond: 0.95/3.18 with Yankees
Darren Holmes: 1.81/6.23 with Braves
Mike Remlinger: 1.99/3.60 with Cubs
Tim Spooneybarger: 2.63/2.25 with Marlins
Albie Lopez: 2.95/4.05 with Royals
Kerry Ligtenberg: 2.97/5.40 with Orioles
John Smoltz: 3.25/0.00 with Braves
Kevin Gryboski: 3.48/6.43 with Braves

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