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One year later, K-Rod replaces John Axford as closer

Jul 17, 2012, 6:13 PM EDT

Francisco Rodriguez AP

6:15 p.m. EDT update: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made it official today, saying Francisco Rodriguez would replace John Axford in the closer’s role for now.

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When the Brewers acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets last July 12, they knew he wanted to close and tried to placate him by saying he and John Axford would be co-closers. Of course, that never materialized, and K-Rod ended up going without a save in 31 appearances during the second half of the save.

Now, one year later, K-Rod over Axford looks like a real possibility. Axford, who was stellar in racking up an NL-high 46 saves last year, blew his sixth save and took his sixth loss when he gave up three runs in the ninth Monday against the Cardinals. In his defense, none of the three hits he gave up were all that well struck. However, he put himself in a bad situation by walking two batters.

K-Rod hasn’t exactly been stellar himself, but he did pitch his fifth straight scoreless inning Monday. The stretch has lowered his ERA from 4.17 ┬áto 3.67. Axford is currently sitting at 5.35.

It’d be an interesting switch for the 42-47 Brewers. Rodriguez is a definite candidate to be traded if Milwaukee deems itself out of contention, and he’d likely be more attractive to suitors if he picked up a few saves over the next couple of weeks. He’s someone who could also potentially be moved in August, given his $8 million salary.

On the other hand, the Brewers are still hoping Axford is their long-term closer, and it wouldn’t be sending him a very good message to pull him in favor of someone who could be dealt at any time. If the Brewers do make the switch, they should advertise as a short-term move and tell Axford he’ll get his job back if he performs.

  1. brewcrewchamps - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Ax man has been stinkin’ up the joint this year.

  2. randygnyc - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    I will never root for a man that could beat his girl in front of her father.

    • gammagammahey - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:58 AM

      You’ve got it slightly mixed up. He beat his girlfriend’s father in front of her.

  3. onbucky96 - Jul 17, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    Cut your hair, freakin hippie!

  4. darthicarus - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    Heath Bell laughs at Axford’s 6 losses.

  5. ufullpj - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Axford gets behind in the count, usually 2-0, 3-1, and then starts trying to aim is fastball, which has no movement. So, if he’s not walking guys, he’s getting behind in the count and guys can sit dead-red on a fastball with no movement. Major League hitters don’t miss those very often.

    It’s too bad. By all accounts, he’s a good dude. But there’s always a danger in using closers in non-save situations and getting them lit up – and since that happened to Axford, he hasn’t been the same. Confidence is as important as ability for closers – and Axford’s confidence seems to be shot.

    • nightman13 - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      It’s his curveball that is killing him, just like Anderson said during the broadcast nobody is going to swing at the curve unless he throws a few for strikes.

      • ezthinking - Jul 17, 2012 at 6:19 PM

        Just ask Lidge

  6. rickeye9 - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    second half of the save? season maybe?

  7. baseballisboring - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Preposterous…K-Rod’s facial hair is nowhere near as awesome as Axford’s, performances be damned.

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