The Not-So-Great Closer Debate

While John Axford was busy working on two innings of shutout baseball against the Rockies yesterday, CBS Sports’ Scott Miller was busy working an article certain to stir up a hornet’s nest among Brewers nation.

News flash:  K-Rod is not happy.

“I’m not fine,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. “They told me I’d have the opportunity to close some games, and we’ve had 20-some save opportunities since then and I haven’t even had one.”

No one in the Brewers front office was confused about what role K-Rod wanted when they traded for him on July 12.  He was coming from a closer’s job, and wanted a closer’s job back.  The only problem:  a 6’5″,Canadian fireballer named John Axford, who, after blowing two games in April, had put together a string of 20 consecutive saves.

Axford has been pretty well lights out since the trade, too, meaning Rodriguez hasn’t seen those save opportunities he was promised.  But there may be hope for him tonight; having used the Axman for two innings in last night’s game, manager Ron Roenicke announced that if a save opportunity presents itself tonight, Rodriguez is his man.

While giving K-Rod a long awaited save might placate the troubled set-up man for a bit, Jim Breen over at Bernie’s Crew explains why we shouldn’t be too concerned about K-Rod’s disappointment spilling over into clubhouse troubles. I don’t know how far Rodriguez’s thirst for competition will quell his troubled mind (don’t most major leaguers?), but no one in that clubhouse is going to take sides against a guy with 39 consecutive saves and a 2.10 ERA.

Magic Number Watch: 8

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