I've had some personal conversations with friends regarding Jonathan Broxton's performance as closer this year. After reading a couple of things in other blogs, I figured it was time to offer my two-cents. Broxton is 5 for 5 in save opportunities this year. Despite the fact that he is perfect in save opportunities, he has struggled. His ERA is 6.14 and he has only 5 strikeouts over a total of 7.1 innings. This is a far cry from the performances he displayed in 2008, 2009 and the first half of the 2010 season. Everybody seems to point to his meltdown against the Yankees last year as the beginning of his fade. While, I won't dispute the fact his velocity is down since that game and his ERA and blown saves are up since then as well. However, I will give him credit for not yet blowing a save opportunity this year. When a manager goes to his closer, he asks him to get enough outs to hold onto the lead so the team can get the win. That's exactly what Broxton has done so far. Is he dominating? No. Is he blowing batters away with his fastball? Nope. Will he ever be the old Jonathan Broxton again? Who knows!?
I've been trying to point out to others that Broxton is our best option at the moment. Kuo is on the disabled list and even if he weren't his past elbow issues probably prevent him from being a full time closer. Kenley Jansen hasn't been much better than Broxton this year and might be a better option next season but not now.
It could definitely be worse. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have 4 blown saves in 9 save opportunities. The Milwaukee Brewers have 4 blown saves in 7 save opportunities. Hold on, it gets better. Ryan Franklin of the Cardinals who was the victim of Matt Kemp's walk-off has had 5 save opportunities and has blown 4 of them. His ERA is a whopping 11.57. Matt Thornton of the Chicago White Sox is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA has blown all 4 of his save opportunities. The White Sox as a team have blown 6 of 7 opportunities.
I'm not trying to be a Broxton apologist but i'm definitely saying he is getting the job done so far. It hasn't been pretty or fun to watch but he's getting it done.
Take a look at this video to watch Ozzie Guillen's take on the White Sox bullpen.
As always, great work by Evan over at OpinionofKingmansPerformance with his take on the Dodger bullpen linked here
Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts offers his opinion linked here
True to the Blue!