Jonny Venters might have the nastiest pitch in baseball. It's a 95-mph sinker from the left side, and it's completely silly. But Venters has also appeared in 163 games this season, give or take a couple, and he could be tiring.
To be fair to Fredi Gonzalez, Venters didn't pitch quite as much in the second half (45 games out of the Braves' first 81, 40 in their last 81), but that's still a pretty heavy workload. And in the eighth inning, the lefty set-up man came in to preserve a 3-2 lead against the Phillies to keep the Braves alive for what will likely be a one-game playoff against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.
Venters walked Chase Utley. He hit Ryan Howard. Then he walked John Mayberry. The bases were loaded, and even a bloop or infield squibber could have erased the Braves' slim advantage. But Venters struck out Raul Ibanez on three funky, funky pitches, and he escape the top half of the eighth with the 3-2 lead.