Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 8/8/12
Theyve been maligned, and deservedly so at times, but Braves relievers have done little wrong of late. The Braves have been playing mix and match with the guys in the bullpen throughout this season, but theyve finally put together a Steady Seven. Im not ready to call them the Spectacular Seven yet, and especially not the overused Magnificent Seven. No, steady does it. But nicknames aside, the guys in the pen have been dominant in the second half, even with one-third of the vaunted OVentbrel trio battling elbow issues. Atlantas bullpen ranks third in the National League with a 3.13 ERA, but Braves relievers have given up only 18 earned runs in the past 94.1 innings good for a 1.72 ERA over that span Theyve been even sharper in the past 15 games, giving up just one earned run. Not coincidentally, the Braves are 11-4 in that span. Heres a look at the seven relievers who have helped assemble this strong streak. Craig Kimbrel Control has been Kimbrels biggest improvement since last year. Hes still striking out batters at a remarkable rate 15.6 batters per nine innings, which is better than last years 14.84 but hes nearly cut walks out of his game completely. He walked one batter on Aug. 2, his first since May 15, a span of 26 innings. Kimbrel is second in the NL with 31 saves to go with a 1.29 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 42 innings, making him a potential Cy Young Award candidate. Eric OFlaherty OFlaherty knew that he wouldnt be able to match last years remarkable success, when he became the first reliever in MLB history to finish with an ERA below 1.00 (0.98) with at least 70 appearances. He showed he was human early with a 4.91 ERA in April and a 3.18 in May, but hes given up only one run in his past 17 innings and has lowered his ERA to 2.50. OFlaherty is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA with seven strikeouts and no walks in his past 8.1 innings, covering 10 appearances. Johnny Venters Venters effectiveness in the first half was hampered by an injured elbow that required a trip to the 15-day DL in July. He had a 4.45 ERA and had given up six home runs in 32.2 innings when he went on the DL on July 5, but hes improved since hes been back, although elbow soreness limited his use last week. Venters, who was so effective at shutting down teams in the eighth inning last year, hasnt given up a run in 4.2 innings since coming off the DL on July 22. Chad Durbin Everybody second-guessed the signing of Durbin two days before the start of the regular season. And everybody third-guessed the move when he was regularly shelled through April and early May. Since then he has been continually counted on in high-pressure situations and has become a valuable member of the pen. Durbin has given up one earned run since June 30 a span of 12.1 innings and the 9.00 ERA he had at the end of April has shrunk to 3.14. Durbin gave up five home runs through May 7, but only three since then. Cristhian Martinez With Kris Medlen now in the rotation, Martinez has adapted well to the role of long reliever. Hes rebounded from a terrible stretch at the end of June and has been able to bridge the critical middle inning stretch from the starters to the back end of the bullpen. Martinez has given up four runs in his past 18.1 innings, dating to the end of June, but he has been especially effective lately, allowing just one earned run in his past nine innings. Cory Gearrin Gearrin is back with the Braves for the second time this year and has responded by giving up four hits and no runs in five innings since his promotion. Hes allowed one run in 7.2 innings in two stints with the Braves this season. Luis Avilan Avilan, a lefty, has pitched well since his quick rise to the majors when Venters went on the DL. He was promoted from Mississippi to Gwinnett and then to the Braves without pitching for the Triple-A franchise. After giving up runs in three successive appearances in July, Avilan hasnt allowed any in his past 4.2 innings for a 2.92 ERA and has 14 strikeouts in his first 12.1 innings in the majors.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kings owner thinks Hield has 'Steph Curry potential'

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Russell Westbrook's beef with Kevin Durant might not be over after all

Giants could use franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul

Two-time Le Mans winner felt he had to hide homosexuality

Emmanuel Sanders wife: WR lied to Broncos, skipped practice to party

Report: Celtics focused on Jimmy Butler amid Cousins trade news

DeMarcus Cousins traded to Pelicans for players, picks

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker