MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports that Brad Boxberger is no longer the Diamondbacks’ primary closer. Going forward, manager Torey Lovullo will close out games based on matchups.
Boxberger, 30, has struggled recently. He blew Sunday’s save chance against the Braves, yielding three runs while recording only one out. He has given up runs in three of four appearances to start the month of September, causing his ERA to balloon to 4.41.
Boxberger had been solid prior to September, ending August with a 3.45 ERA, 31 saves in 37 chances, and a 67/24 K/BB ratio in 47 innings.
Yoshihisa Hirano, Brad Ziegler, Archie Bradley, and Andrew Chafin could all see some save opportunities down the stretch. The D-Backs entered Monday’s action 2.5 games out of first place in the NL West and three games out of the second Wild Card slot, so this change will certainly have an impact on whether or not the D-Backs reach the postseason and in what fashion.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.