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Arodys Vizcaino rebounds, references Mariano Rivera for mental toughness

The Braves set the stage for a Arodys Vizcaino rebound. He wanted an opportunity to redeem himself, and he got it.

Vizcaino, who blew a save Tuesday night, pitched a perfect ninth inning Wednesday in the Braves’ 4-1 win over the Cubs.

The Braves scraped across three runs in the eighth to give Vizcaino a lead and breathing room. Braves manager Brian Snitker could’ve used Dan Winkler in that spot, but elected to let Vizcaino try to rebound with the three-run cushion.

Either Vizcaino or Winkler would’ve pitched on a back-to-back. But Vizcaino made it clear he wanted to take the mound.

“I definitely had the desire and the want to go back out there tonight,” he said through an interpreter. “After what happened, you want to remedy that immediately. So I wanted to go, and luckily it worked out and we were able to get it done.”

Vizcanio entered with a 2-1 lead Tuesday. He allowed three hits and two runs, blowing his second save of the season.

Ronald Acuna had delivered the go-ahead homer in the eighth. His RBI single in the eighth Wednesday gave Vizcaino another chance in similar fashion.

“It’s always good, when you have a night like he did yesterday, to get him back out there and get him back on the mound,” Snitker said. “Those guys, it’s going to happen. You have a short memory when you’re in that role. It was good to get him back out there and see how good he was.”

Vizcaino forced Addison Russell to ground out, struck out Ian Happ and got Ben Zobrist to line out for the win.

Speaking with the media afterward, Vizcaino referenced future Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest closer in history, Mariano Rivera.

“I’ve had this position for a while now,” he said. “Look at Mariano Rivera, he had nights where he didn’t do well and he just had to get up after falling down. I just have to do the same thing as well.”

Vizcaino’s inconsistency promoted Snitker to split closing duties between him and A.J. Minter. Snitker said Tuesday that Winkler would be included in those conversations.

In 21 appearances, Vizcaino has had eight clean outings. Since taking over as closer July 30, 2017, he’s converted 20 of 23 save opportunities (87 percent). 

Wednesday was the first time Vizcaino produced a clean inning in 10 save chances. 

Even with his stressful outings, he’s part of a bullpen that has been largely successful. He also is among the most experienced in a relatively ripe group that currently includes Minter, Winkler, Jesse Biddle, Shane Carle and Luiz Gohara.

“It’s a young bullpen, and right now we’re just trying to focus on any way to help the team that we can,” he said. “We’re trying to find ways to stay healthy. I think the main thing is we’re trying to help each other improve any way we can. That’s kind of the chemistry we have in the bullpen.”

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