Overshadowed by Dan Uggla’s 31-game hitting streak, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has a scoreless-appearance streak of 26 games that has featured utter dominance.
After Martin Prado’s 11th-inning single gave the Braves a 4-3 lead over the Marlins on Tuesday, Kimbrel recorded his majors-leading 36th save with a hitless inning.
It was his fourth appearance and save in the past five games, and 26th appearance (and 18th save) in the Braves’ past 50 games. In that period since June 14, Kimbrel allowed seven hits (.085 opponents’ average) and eight walks with 41 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.
“Oh, man, he’s been so locked in,” reliever Jonny Venters said. “He’s not giving guys pitches to hit, and his stuff’s been — well, you’ve seen his stuff. Ninety-six, 98, 99 [mph], he’s throwing sliders for strikes. ... Guys are going out there with barely a chance at all to hit him.”
Kimbrel needs five saves to break the major league rookie record of 40 set last season by the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz, a former Braves prospect.
McCann at Gwinnett
Gwinnett County resident Brian McCann needn’t travel far for his injury-rehab assignment.
The Braves catcher is set to play Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday for Triple-A Gwinnett, then be activated from the DL barring setbacks. The G-Braves are home against Pawtucket for those games.
McCann has been out with a strained oblique muscle in his left side. He’s eligible to come off the DL on Friday, but Gonzalez didn’t want him to risk re-injury by rushing his return.
McCann began taking batting practice Monday for the first time since the injury.