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.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”