Originally Posted by traderumor
Reitsma (on the DL last I checked, but then I'm just barely paying attention
Maybe you should pay attention. That Reitsma 2.02 ERA in May looked pretty good.
Notes: Stellar setup men
Gryboski, Reitsma helping Smoltz do his thing
By Pierre Moussette / Special to MLB.com
MONTREAL -- Behind every star closer there is one or more quality setup men. While the hold is certainly not nearly as glamorous as the save, Atlanta relievers Chris Reitsma and Kevin Gryboski have done yeomen's work in paving the way for stopper John Smoltz.
"Reitsma's been our go-to guy in the eighth inning to get us to Smoltz," pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. "We've got Gryboski for the seventh and Reitsma for the eighth. What we like about Reitsma is it doesn't matter who's hitting in the lineup because he's got the pitches to offset whether they are left-handed or right-handed."
So far, Reitsma has enjoyed working under Cox and Mazzone.
"It's been good," Reitsma said. "The two months have gone by like a week. They've plugged me in; they've used me quite a bit. I'm just trying to do the best I can every time I go out there with the role they've given me and I'm enjoying myself -- things are good."
The former Reds starter had an ERA of 4.52 in three losing seasons in Cincinnati. Upon his arrival in Atlanta, Mazzone preached his mantra of location, location, location, and it seems to have revived the right-hander's career.
"It's unbelievable but the simple thing is the consistency of trying to own a down-and-away strike with the fastball," he said. "When you practice with them that's the most difficult thing to do, so we spend all our time practicing that particular pitch in that particular area."
The strategy of keeping the ball down has obviously worked well in the past and continues to do so. Only the St. Louis Cardinals obtain a higher percentage of their outs via the ground ball, and the Braves' staff ERA is fourth in the NL.
"He just emphasizes the down-and-away strike, being in the zone down, being aggressive all the time and being ahead," Reitsma said of his pitching coach's philosophy. "It's nothing new from what I've heard before, it's just that he's very focussed and very intent on that. And obviously he's had a lot of good pitchers under him and a lot of success. You listen to him and try to keep things simple -- I think that's the key."
On the whole, Mazzone is pleased with the performance of his staff so far and sees plenty of opportunity for even better results the rest of the way.
"Our pitching staff has come together pretty good," Mazzone added. "We have a chance to have a really solid rotation and our bullpen has been really good with Alfonseca pitching extremely well."