SportsNation Blog Archives Jonathan Broxton
The Giants and Dodgers own one of the best rivalries in sports, let alone baseball, but a shared history spanning more than 100 seasons and a continent has perhaps never gotten weirder than it did Tuesday night.
In case you slept through it, let's get up to speed (or, you know, just watch the video).
The Dodgers led by a run with one out and the bases full of Giants in the top of the ninth at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer had already been ejected after the teams traded beanballs earlier in the game, leaving hitting coach Don Mattingly to visit closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound. Mattingly finished his meeting and turned to walk back to the dugout, stepping off the dirt of the mound just as James Loney appeared to ask him a question. Mattingly turned again, took a couple of steps back onto the dirt as he answered and then resumed his trip back to the dugout.
And that's where things got interesting. The Giants protested to the umpires that Mattingly had technically made two trips, meaning Broxton had to come out. Sticking to the letter of the law, the umpires agreed and Broxton departed. George Sherrill came in, Andres Torres drove in two with a double and the Giants were on their way to a 7-5 win.
So is picking the finest of nits a brilliant bit of strategy by the Giants or a cheap way to win?
You certainly can't say that this postseason has been devoid of excitement.
Not that we were accusing you of saying that; you seem pretty knowledgeable (heck, you did OK on our postseason quiz, and we had our top guys working on that). It's just nice to be reminded every once in a while of just how awesome October baseball can be.
That almost wasn't the case in Anaheim, however. For reasons unexplained, the Yankees' opponents this season seem intent on booting balls, running into outs and generally acting like they're unfamiliar with the basic rules of baseball. That ineptitude was once again on full display Monday night, with Bobby Abreu getting rung up after a failed attempt to get back to second base going along with the Angels' inability to score with a man on second and no outs. Thanks to some curious decisions by Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, however, the Angels managed to cut the Yankees' ALCS deficit to 2-1. SportsNation wasn't confident about the Angels' chances in this game, but how are they picking now?
In Philadelphia, the game nearly came down to a matchup of future slow-pitch softball MVP Matt Stairs and fireballing closer Jonathan Broxton. Flashbacks to 2008's Stairs moonshot were temporarily avoided when Broxton walked the pinch-hitting terror, but that only delayed the inevitable. Broxton gave up the game on a two-run double to Jimmy Rollins, whom he'd historically had some success against. Broxton is one in an increasingly-long line of big-time closers this season that have blown saves -- Papelbon, Nathan, Fuentes -- heck, even Mariano Rivera almost got in on the fun. It says something about the value of closers in the postseason -- we're just not sure what.
Billy Wagner hasn't pitched in more than a calendar year. He's coming off Tommy John surgery at 38 years old. He was reportedly placed on waivers by the Mets -- a team that might as well print its "abled" list to save paper -- now that he's on the verge of returning. And the sad part is you suspect at least half of the general managers in the pennant race got a little excited when they heard the news.
The defending champions have a closer with an ERA that looks like an NBA sixth man's points per game. The Cubs just banished Kevin Gregg in favor of Carlos Marmol, who has walked 52 batters in 56.1 innings. And Ryan Franklin is suddenly the second coming of Lee Smith in St. Louis. We're just saying the ninth inning is going to be kind of an adventure in the playoffs this year.