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Torre Up to His Old Tricks?

Columns — By Scott Ham on August 22, 2009 1:35 pm

A reliever?  Complain about workload?  Of course Joe Torre is involved:

Jonathan Broxton acknowledged that the wear and tear of the season is taking its toll on his mind and body.

“We’ve played 120 games already,” Broxton said. “You travel around. You pitch three nights in a row. You pitch four out of six days. It starts wearing on you.”

Before getting the save Friday night with a perfect ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs, Broxton had blown three of his last six save opportunities and gave up the deciding run in the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday.

Through Thursday, Broxton’s earned-run average in July and August was 4.66.

Actually, the Dodgers have played 123 games.  Broxton’s pitched in 54 of them for a total of 57 innings.

That’s not absurd.  Broxton actually ranks third in the Dodgers bullpen in innings pitched behind Ramon Troncoso (69.1 IP) and Guillermo Mota (60 IP), and Ronald Belisario is only four innings behind him at 53 IP.

Broxton, however, is the closer. That means he’s privy to a special kind of abuse, mainly back-to-back-to-back games and the occasional five out of seven.  The irony here is, if you look at Broxton’s gamelog for 2009, most of his ineffective outings have not come after back to back days.  Rather, they’ve come after rest days, especially two or more rest days in a row.

I doubt Torre has picked up on such a trend, unless his silent glare in the dugout is actually masking a supercomputer whirring behind those basset hound eyes.  Instead, Torre is running him out there when a save is called for, fulfilling the modern day manager’s job of maintaining and preserving useless statistics like the save.

I expected to look at Broxton’s gamelog and see a long list of abuse on Torre’s part, but, unlike the ghosts of Torre past, I don’t see much to get riled about.

Tags: Chicago Cubs, Guillermo Mota, Joe Torre, Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers, Ramon Troncoso, Ronald Belisario, Scott Proctor

2 Comments

  1. It’s funny, relief pitchers in the 70’s were always complaining that they weren’t getting enough work. Nowadays pitchers are always complaining they’re being used too much. Even good relievers are overrated anyways.

  2. Scott Ham says:

    I dont think many of them can handle the work. Relief pitching is so volatile, it’s no wonder that Cashman has tried to fill the pen from within. If guys are going to drop off every two or three years, why pay big money for free agents?

    The downside may be, like Veras this season, that you burn through your farm stock of arms rather quickly.

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