Atlanta Braves lose key bullpen piece with Tyler Matzek surgery

Sep 23, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Tyler Matzek (68) throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Tyler Matzek (68) throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tyler Matzek, one of the key pieces of a steady Atlanta Braves bullpen over the last three seasons, is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

What Tommy John surgery means for Tyler Matzek and his role in the Atlanta Braves bullpen

With the surgery, Matzek will not only miss the rest of the postseason for the Atlanta Braves, but will likely miss the 2023 season as well while recovering. The 31-year-old southpaw is under team control through the 2024 campaign.

Matzek appeared in 42 games for the Braves this season, covering 43.2 innings and posting a 3.50 ERA/4.49 FIP/1.260 WHIP. He struck out 36, averaging just 7.4 strikeouts per nine inning, his lowest numbers since joining the Braves during the 2020 campaign.

In his three seasons in Atlanta, Matzek has taken the mound in 132 regular-season contests and was also a key part of Atlanta’s postseason plans the last two years, appearing in 20 games, including four of the six World Series games played between the Braves and Houston Astros in 2021.

Matzek last appeared for the Braves on October 5 in Miami. He threw two innings, surrendering two hits and two runs while also walking a pair of batters. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker noted that Matzek felt elbow discomfort during that game, one of the reasons why Matzek was left off the NLDS roster as Atlanta met NL East rival Philadelphia.

After overcoming the “yips” and returning the mound in 2020, Matzek has become a voice for causes that include mental health awareness. By giving back, Matzek was named as Atlanta’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award this season, giving to an MLB player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”

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This season, Matzek was primarily used as a setup man, working the seventh and eighth innings the most of any frames. Jesse Chavez and Raisel Iglesias will likely fill that role in the postseason in Matzo’s absence.