So…you still want Ramon Troncoso or George Sherrill to save games for your Dodgers down the stretch? Raise your hand if you were one of the many who have questioned whether or not Jonathan Broxton should have the job? Not only last month but all of you who have had your doubts ever since Sammy Saito got hurt last year.
Broxton has been brilliant!
He’s got 35 saves so far this year in 40 chances. I’ll take that any year. In his last 10 chances — when they’ve meant the most, he’s 10 for 10 with an ERA of zilch. And is it just me or does it seem like he strikes out two of every three hitters he faces?
Anybody who’s familiar with my stance on closers knows that I don’t think it’s all that tough of a job. There are only two characteristics that a closer needs to do the job and neither of them have anything to do with what kind of stuff the guy has.
He needs the guts to take the ball and get the last three outs of a game, and a short memory if he doesn’t.
His job is to ride in on his white horse with nobody on and nobody out in a 4-1 game and get three outs before he gives up three runs. Then get the hi-fives, get the girl, and get the big contract.
It’s only been in the last 15 years or so that teams have actually groomed pitchers to be their “closer of the future”. Before that, a lot of closers were washed up starters (Dennis Eckersley, Eric Gagne) or pitchers that hadn’t worked out at any other team or spot in the Bullpen (Heathcliff Slocumb). And you don’t have to have a blazing fastball like big J.B., or a jelly-legging curveball like K-Rod — just ask Doug Jones, who never made the catchers glove pop and very few people even knew what he threw! Some, like Jesse Orosco or John Franco rarely threw strikes at all.
By the way, Jones and Franco are both in the top 20 all-time in saves.
So I say get behind what Broxton has been doing this year and realize he’s one of the best in the business. What do you want, Brad Lidge from last season? Wouldn’t that be great? 47 straight saves without a single blown save all year — not even in the playoffs. The problem is, you might end up with Brad Lidge this year — 10 blown saves.
Stick with “Ironman”.
— Steve Lyons