The Aftermath

No shortage of hilarity on the intertubes after last night’s disaster, on both sides of the aisle, so let’s get right to it.

In the LA Times, Bill Shaikin nails it:

It is not news that Torre tends to overuse his favorite relievers — not to fans, not to the front office, not to ownership. If he hesitates to trust any relievers besides Broxton, Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo, then the Dodgers either need to get another manager, or get their manager another reliever.

Bet you know which way I’m leaning! But if it does have to be the latter, MLBtraderumors wonders if that process is already ongoing:

If Colletti looks to make a deal, I imagine Kerry Wood, Kyle FarnsworthOctavio Dotel, D.J. Carrasco, Brendan Donnelly, and Javier Lopez can be had.  I also wonder about Brandon League, David Aardsma, Brandon Lyon, Matt Lindstrom, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Kevin Gregg, and Matt Capps.  The remaining salary on these contracts ranges from $413K for Lopez to $5.59MM for Wood. 

Back to last night’s game, Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts brings the logic:

Prior to Sunday’s game, Broxton had allowed one earned run in his previous 23 games (0.39 ERA) with no blown saves. In 33 games this season, he had allowed three earned runs and three inherited runs to score. He had surrendered two leads all year. He had over 50 percent more strikeouts than baserunners allowed.

But then the people come out and say none of this matters, because Broxton can’t perform on the national stage when it counts. Even though he had performed on the national stage in an identical situation one night before.

The people come out and say none of this matters, because Broxton can’t perform in the postseason. Even though he has in all but two games. Even though six of the other seven 2009 playoff teams saw their closer give up a lead in last year’s postseason. Yep – every closer but Mariano Rivera blew a postseason game last year. (Rivera got his out of the way in earlier years.)

Couldn’t possibly agree more.

But those “facts” and “numbers” aren’t good enough for all, according to LA Dodger Talk:

The Dodgers should have never been there if Broxton was not a choke artist!  For those of you who want to overwhelm me with stats, here is where FIGURES LIE!  Broxton blew the game, but he gets no blown save, which is BS!  TOTAL BS!  Jon Broxton blew what was the biggest game of the year for the Dodgers.  Remember this game because if the Dodgers don’t win, this game could have been a pivotal change in the Dodgers fortune, but Jon Broxton wrestled defeat from the jaws of victory.  When you mention the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and all the big name teams, Jon Broxton’s knees turn to jelly.  This loss wasn’t on Torre.  Joe wanted the win and brought what is his best pitcher in to seal the deal.  I’m no Torre fan, but this isn’t on Joe.  Quit making excuses for Broxton.  My wife calls him “a loser.”   He can pitch with the best, but I tend to agree – he’s a loser!

“I’ll take emotional-yet-irrational response for $800, Alex.”

Yankee blog River Ave. Blues knows exactly what the Joe Torre experience is like:

For years, Yankee fans bemoaned Joe Torre’s bullpen management. We saw him wear down reliable relievers, using them in unnecessary situations day after day. Scott Proctor, Paul Quantrill, Tanyon Sturtze, Steve Karsay. The early 2000s are littered with the discarded arms of the Torre Era. Tonight, we saw it benefit the Yanks.

In a curious move last night, Torre went with Jonathan Broxton, his stud closer (3-0, 0.83 ERA, 13.2 K/9 IP before tonight), with the Dodgers up by five. He later said he wanted to make sure the Yanks didn’t start to rally. It was, in his mind, a save without actually being a save situation. Tonight, with a four-run lead, Torre did the same thing, and it blew up in his face.

(snip)

An inning later, Torre’s bullpen management struck again. After Ramon Troncoso got an out on an A-Rod fielder’s choice, Torre went with the match-ups, bringing in George Sherrill to face Robinson Cano. The Yanks’ second baseman had been 0-for-11 vs. the lefty Sherrill, but as the announcers on ESPN noted, Sherrill’s fastball isn’t what it once was. Cano took an 88-mph fastball over the fence in left-center. The book isn’t always right.

Not depressed yet? They posted the win probability graph of the game as well:

But it’s not just about Broxton, because Chad from MOKM points out that Hong-Chih Kuo is getting close to Defcon 5:

In his nine appearances in June, five of them were of the multiple inning variety. This coming from a guy who has had four arm surgeries and whose arm turned blue in the bullpen during the playoffs the last time the Dodgers used him this way.

For comparison, can you guys guess how many times he was used over an inning in 2009? Zero.

Finally, help is on the way! Uh, sort of:

The Dodgers signed lefty reliever Jack Taschner to a minor league deal.  Albuquerque Isotopes GM John Traub confirmed in an email to MLBTR that the southpaw was added to the roster yesterday. 

Taschner, 32, posted a 6.05 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9 in 19.3 innings for the Pirates this year before being designated for assignment on June 8th.  He later elected free agency after refusing an outright assignment to the minors.  Taschner’s line against lefties in his brief time with the Pirates was odd – he struck out nine and walked one in 6.6 innings, but also allowed eight hits and seven runs.

Don’t let the timing of this fool you, because I’ve already seen this picked up in multiple places that this was some how Ned Colletti’s “response” to last night. Taschner was signed in the last few days… early enough to give up a homer in his Isotope debut last night. So, there’s that.

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  1. [...] June 28: But it’s not just about Broxton, because Chad from MOKM points out that Hong-Chih Kuo is getting close to Defcon 5: [...]

  2. [...] and you probably remember what happened the last time — Joe Torre did his absolute best to murder Jonathan Broxton. Fun, [...]