Jonathan Broxton didn’t have a bad outing on Sunday. Looking back on his PitchF/X from yesterday vs. previous outings, it looks like Broxton’s stuff was working just fine. His fastball peaked at 100 mph and The zone was tight (five called balls were on the outer edges of the zone) and no batters swung at Broxton’s fastball up and in. Frankly, Brox had a great outing, the Cardinals were just hitting him (and also Andre Ethier couldn’t catch a deep fly ball).
And look, Broxton’s fastball was back up to 100!! That’s great news!
On Twitter, I made a few complaints that weren’t accurate, but suffice to say that Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness and Memories of Kevin Malone said it best: if you’re gonna be mad about Sunday’s game, be mad at Broxton for that performance, but know he’s been good all season. There’s no reason to circle the wagons and there’s nobody in that bullpen that could replace his production.
Know that any attacks on Broxton’s “choking” are impotent because no one but Broxton, and maybe a few people in the dugout, really knows what’s going on in Broxton’s head. On top of that, Broxton’s had several one-run saves earlier this season and gave up no hits or walks.
With no further ado, here’s the Joe Torre Theorem. As better-than-replacement pitchers in the bullpen approaches zero, bullpen ERA approaches infinity.
Where Y-axis is ERA and X is the number of bullpen relievers above average.
The team most affected by this right now is the Diamondbacks, whose team ERA was above 6 at one point this season, but now the question is posed to the Dodgers. So far, the team has seen Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, George Sherrill and Cory Wade fall in effectiveness. All were above-average relievers and all are doing terribly today. As Broxton’s effectiveness wanes, only one reliever is above average: Hong Chih Kuo. Right now, the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA is at 3.85, where do you think it’ll be at the end of the season?