NEW YORK -- With Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters sidelined for the remainder of this season, the Braves are looking for some of their less-experienced relievers to prove they have the talent and mental resolve to handle crucial late-inning situations.
After allowing a pair of runs amid the torrential downpour that soaked Citi Field as the Mets produced a game-tying eighth-inning rally on Friday night, Anthony Varvaro returned to the mound when the suspended game resumed on Saturday. While tossing a perfect ninth inning under a sunny sky, he gave the Braves a chance to claim a 10-inning victory and also enhanced the coaching staff's confidence in his abilities.
"He's got good stuff," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Last year when he came up, we didn't want to put him in the game because of the inconsistencies, walks and all that kind of stuff. But now you learn that you are comfortable with him, so you put him in situations."
Varvaro had surrendered a run in just three of his previous 17 appearances before being subjected to Friday's nearly unplayable conditions.
"[Catcher Brian McCann] came out and said, 'I'm struggling to get the ball back to you, so let's just do everything we can just to get it over the plate.'" Varvaro said. "I [said], 'Realistically, I can only throw a straight ball right now and I don't know if it's going in the dirt. I'm just trying to get the ball to you over some white part of the plate.'
"I don't want to say I had a little bit of a disadvantage. But if the conditions were a little bit better, maybe the outcome would have been as it was yesterday. But ultimately, [Saturday's] inning was just as important as the night before. So my goal was just to go out there and put up a zero. Thankfully, I did."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.