I was at last night’s game and I was at the Sunday game against the Yankees. After Jonathan Broxton allowed two runs, yes, I had horrible flashbacks to that Yankees game and fortunately the game ended (mostly because the Cubs are not the Yankees).
Worse, Broxton wasn’t really needed at THAT point. Another reliever probably could’ve given up two runs and gotten an out or two, at which point Broxton would’ve been at least more necessary. Furthermore, Broxton pitched the game before and Hong-Chih Kuo hasn’t had an appearance since July 4.
Broxton has had a lot more up moments this year than down, but as his numbers stabilize, the picture comes more into focus.
Bad News: Broxton’s career HR/FB rate is 7.2 and it’s at 3.3 right now. In 2008, he had a 3.8 rate, and in 2009, a 9.8 rate, so yes, it fluctuates wildly, but there might be some correction for that later in the year.
Good News: Broxton’s BABIP right now is way above average. You might have noticed this at the games, but he’s been giving up some weak line drives for hits. It’s in the .380s range and his average is .326.
Bad News: Torre has either had him warming up or throwing in the game for six consecutive games. This severely affected his fastball speed:
Compared to earlier in the season, I randomly picked from June 4, where he pitched one inning after pitching only once in the previous three days.
The evidence speaks for itself.
Good News: Some rest would likely restore him and Joe Torre has already said today that Broxton will be unavailable.
Bad News: The scary part is what happens for the rest of the season. Torre has all but said he doesn’t trust any other pitchers out of the bullpen and this past week only solidified that. Hopefully he doesn’t wear down Broxton until he’s useless.