Four days ago the Brewers said they were sticking with John Axford despite a rough start to the season, but now it looks like manager Ron Roenicke is making a change in the ninth inning.
Axford took the loss in yesterday’s game against the Diamondbacks, but only after throwing a scoreless 10th inning and then being asked to pitch the 11th inning too. It didn’t go well and now Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Roenicke dropped some serious hints about a change even though nothing is official yet:
Asked if there was a closing situation today against the Cubs if he would use Axford, Roenicke said, “I need to have a discussion with ‘Ax’ on what we plan to do. So, I really can’t give you an answer until I talk to him.”
Normally, when a manager says somethng like that, it means he hasn’t talked to the player yet about making a change and therefore isn’t ready to tell the media.
Axford has a 20.25 ERA, allowing six runs in 2.2 innings while serving up four homers. He briefly lost the closer job last season, but then recovered to be one of the best relievers in baseball down the stretch. Presumably the fill-in will be setup man Jim Henderson, who has a 3.21 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 34 career innings.
Indians reliever Andrew Miller lasted only six pitches in Monday night’s appearance against the Red Sox. He walked Mookie Betts on six pitches before being relieved by Dan Otero. Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Miller reaggravated the patella tendinitis in his right knee.
Miller, 32, missed a couple of weeks earlier this month with patella tendinitis. He was activated last Friday and got two outs in a scoreless appearance against the Royals that night.
Bastian pointed out that Miller’s velocity has been lower than usual. He averaged 92.1 MPH on his fastball on Friday and 90.1 MPH on Monday, well below his normal average around 94 MPH.
The Indians should have more on Miller’s status after Monday’s game or on Tuesday. The lefty is carrying a 1.65 ERA with a 79/16 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings on the season.
Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and reliever Matt Bush collided attempting to catch an infield pop-up during Sunday afternoon’s game against the White Sox. Bush was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday with an MCL sprain in his right knee. Both he and Gallo are experiencing concussion symptoms, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports, and Gallo also suffered a nasal fracture. Gallo has not yet been put on the disabled list.
Losing both players is a big loss for the Rangers, who entered Monday’s action just 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card slot.
Gallo, 23, has had a breakout season, batting .205/.329/.561 with 35 home runs, 65 RBI, and 68 runs scored in 410 plate appearances.
Bush, 31, has been solid out of the bullpen, putting up a 3.04 ERA with a 53/18 K/BB ratio in 47 1/3 innings.