Braves’ Snitker on changing closer: ‘Don’t think we’re there yet’

Braves reliever Jim Johnson’s struggles continued on Saturday with a blown save against the Phillies, his third in his past seven chances.

But manager Brian Snitker said he’s not ready to try someone else in the closer’s role.

“It’s something you would think about but I don’t think we are there yet,” Snitker said.

Snitker noted that the other top two candidates to close games, Arodys Vizcaino and Rex Brothers, also gave up runs in the 4-3 extra-innings lost to the Phillies. The Phillies pulled within 3-2 with a run against Vizcaino in the eighth and won the game on Ty Kelly’s walk-off single against Brothers in the 11th.

Another closer candidate, Jose Ramirez, pitched two perfect innings against the Phillies and has a 2.53 ERA in 46 appearances (42 2/3 innings) with 39 strikeouts and 19 walks. But he’s struggled in late-inning situations this season and has a 4.91 ERA in four ninth-inning appearances.

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Johnson has a majors-leading eight blown saves this season. In his past 24 appearances he’s complied a 5.32 ERA with six blown saves in 19 chances and a .345 opponents’ batting average.

Sometimes statistics don’t reflect performance because of luck or other circumstances. But Johnson said that’s not the case with him.

“I think they pretty much sum it up,” Johnson said. “I haven’t been throwing as many quality pitches as I should be and I’m paying the price for it.”

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