Wednesday, July 14, 2010
NL Wins, Broxton Does, Too, Sorta: NL 3, AL 1
Broxton, for his part, has fared numerically quite a bit better than his Dodger forerunner, but it's also a peculiarity of his record that despite being never asked to get more than four outs in any single game, he is overall 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA. Yet the fact that he has hitherto done appreciably worse in NLCS games (5.06 ERA) is all but exclusively due to his 2009 series against the Phillies.
Yet for me, the feeling will persist — as it did last night — that while Broxton belongs among the game's very good, it's unlikely he will break into the ranks of the elite, mainly because of his postseason numbers. I confess I was right there with others expecting him to gag up the lead; and when David Ortiz got a leadoff single, that felt like exactly the opening I and the rest of the skeptics anticipated.
But what we did not count on was Joe Girardi managing himself out of the game. Part of his problem was that he treated it exactly like the exhibition it was, and so his bench was rather depleted by the time Ortiz made first. His one option left to him — which he did not avail himself of — was A-Rod, but not only did he not pinch-run for the notoriously slow Ortiz, but he didn't have him pinch-hit for Adrian Beltre, either. There has been some talk — mostly on Twitter, from what I can tell — that A-Rod is nursing a sore something-or-other, which means Girardi was loathe to actually run the game as though it counted. And so the game, for Beltre struck out, and John Buck hit into the strangest fielder's choice you'll ever see: a 9-6 with the ball actually hitting the turf first. As Helen said at the time, Broxton owes Cub Marlon Byrd a drink or maybe several rounds, for he did the most masterful job of decoying the runner I've ever seen, getting Ortiz to think he had a chance at catching the fly. With the plodding Ortiz caught halfway between the bags, he was a dead duck at second.
Final bonus points: Matt Freaking Capps was the winner. SRSLY.
Seven of eight closers in the 2009 postseason blew saves. But Broxton is the only one stuck with the choker tag.
I still cannot imagine that, if Broxton had saved one more game in the playoffs, you would still be giving him a hard time. That would be 10 of 11 successful appearances - the magic 91%.
If 91% is acceptable, and Broxton is one game away from reaching that total, then how can you say that one game isn't what you're basing your opinion on?