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2010 Season in Review: Billy Wagner

Written by Joe Lucia on .

We've reached the final pitcher in the season in review series. It's time to celebrate, pop a beer, and...get to work on the hitters. Well, first I need to tell you about Billy Wagner's 2010. But I'm sure you all know how Wagner did this season: pretty awesome.

Wagner's 2010 was filled with question marks at the beginning, with Braves fans wondering if he'd be able to reclaim his ace closer form after 2008 Tommy John surgery. His 2009 stint in New York and Boston was brief, but filled with hope (26:8 K:BB, 2.33 FIP in 15 2/3 IP. Small sample size, I know). I can tell you this though: after his 2010, where Wagner announced midseason that he'd be retiring at the end of the year to spend time with family, fans were begging for him to come back in 2011. That won't be the case though, as Wagner has stated time and time again that his retirement annoucement is final. The Braves don't have the payroll to exercise his option anyway, but I'm sure if he had a change of heart tomorrow, they could work him into things and force one of the extra arms (Scott Proctor, I'm looking directly at you with laser beam death eyes) out.

What can I really say about the 2010 season that Billy Wagner put together? His ERA was a career best 1.43, and the 2.10 FIP that corresponded with that ERA was his second best mark. His strikeout rate of 13.50 was his best over a full season in a decade, and his 2.86 walk rate was right around his career mark.

The only real negative mark about Wagner's 2010 was the blown saves, as he had 7 of them. 4 of those came in a 3 week stretch right after the All-Star Break. But after that horrible stretch, Wagner bore down once Chipper got hurt and didn't blow a save after that Houston series in August. In fact, he would have gone without allowing an earned run for the rest of the season had he not come in during the 8th inning in the final game of the season against the Phillies and allowed a run while he was stopping their insane comeback.

Wagner's season ended on a down note, as he came in during Game 2 of the NLDS, and pulled his oblique after only 3 pitches. He was ruled out for the rest of the series, and the career of Billy Wagner ended with a whimper. If not for that pulled oblique, Wagner probably would have been pitching in Game 3 instead of Craig Kimbrel, and might have been able to close the Giants out to give the Braves a 2-1 series lead. And who knows what would have happened from there...

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