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.
Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.
That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:
It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.
The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.
This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.
Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.
From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.
I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.