UPDATE: Well, this could be awkward. Broxton said this afternoon that Mattingly told him that he’s still the closer. That’s going to make for an interesting day in the Dodgers’ clubhouse. Might make an even more interesting day for Ned Colletti who said something quite different on the radio today.
3:30 PM: As readers pointed out to me, I was a bit hard on Jonathan Broxton in ATH this morning, failing to grasp that the ninth inning meltdown last night was more a function of the Dodgers’ defensive problems than they were Broxton’s doing. There was that Carroll error, but one of the “singles” Broxton gave up was really a case of Jerry Sands badly misplaying a ball in left. Five outs is tough to get, but Broxton was forced to do it. Apologies for whiffing on that. Such is the problem with reading box scores after the fact. You assume singles are singles, and such assumptions aren’t always safe.
Not that all is right with Broxton. His velocity is way down over the past couple of years and Don Mattingly’s confidence in him is obviously low. As such, Ned Colletti said on KABC radio today that the Dodgers are going to shift to a closer-by-committee approach for a while. “Hopefully, we can give Donnie three choices at the end of the game … until Broxton gets his confidence back.” Those three choices are going to be Broxton, Vicente Padilla and Hong Chih-Kuo.
It will be interesting to see who Mattingly uses in practice. Because really, Colletti’s comments seem geared less towards creating some sort of set rotation of game-enders and seems geared more towards giving Mattingly some cover to avoid Broxton without having to answer pointed questions all the time.
As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.
Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.
Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.
Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.
Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:
Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.
Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.