Changes in the Bullpen

I’m still working on my mega-Broxton post (believe me, it’ll be interesting), but in the meantime we have changes at the back end of the bullpen. Dylan Hernandez, take it away:

Kuo is the #Dodgers‘ closer — for now. Dotel will be closing tonight if the #Dodgers are ahead.

This is going to be seen, I’m sure, as a massive demotion for Broxton. I don’t think it should be seen as such, but it’s the right move. As both Eric Stephen and Steve Dilbeck called for, Broxton needs to not be the closer right now. You can chalk up his struggles to whatever you want – overuse, injury, mechanics, etc. – but he’s not getting the job done. He needs some time to recharge, time the Dodgers probably don’t have right now (this if you’re still under the impression they’re in contention, which I am not), so it’s the right move for him and for the team. I think that once he gets himself together, he deserves to get his job back – and he will.

Hernandez explains further:

Torre said he will still use Broxton in close games; just wants to take him out of closing role until he gets his feet under him.

Exactly. I’m fully behind this move, for now. So they turn to Hong-Chih Kuo, one hell of an option, because he’s been all but untouchable. Of course, he’s pitched two nights in a row and is almost certainly unavailable tonight, so they’ll go with Octavio Dotel, as Hernandez said.

Here’s the problem with Dotel, though: he’s basically the opposite of George Sherrill. Dotel crushes righties, allowing them only a .176/.238/.330 line so far this year. But lefties kill him, to the tune of .304/.424/.594. Unfortunately for Torre,  he may not have any great options tonight should the Dodgers have a lead in a close game.

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If there’s one concern I have, it’s this: despite the panicked effort by the club to act as though they’re in the race, they’re not. It’s just not their year. What really worries me is the idea that in the effort to pretend they’re contending, fragile arms like Kuo (now allowed to pitch on back-to-back nights) and young rookie Kenley Jansen will be overworked in the name of finishing 6 games out of the playoffs. That’s not even close to worth it, and that’s something I’ll be watching closely.

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Oh, I almost forgot. This blog is bashing me. Or not. I can’t even really tell, but I like it anyway.

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  1. [...] next day, Broxton was removed from the closing role in favor of Hong-Chih Kuo, a move I supported. It’s hard not to see that Yankee game as a major turning point in his season; while he was [...]

  2. [...] put, no one hit Kuo, any time, any place. By August, with Jonathan Broxton proving unreliable, Kuo moved into the main closer’s role, and ended up notching nine saves in the last six weeks, and he’s likely to see time there [...]