Sunday, September 23, 2007

Furcal, Broxton and a Little Bit of Gagne

Kevin Hench of Fox Sports tells us the that the real culprits of this years disappointing season is Jonathon Broxton and Rafael Furcal. To which I wince and think to myself, "What is he talking about?"
After posting a 0.69 ERA in July and a 1.13 ERA August, the wheels came off for Broxton in September, contributing mightily to the Dodgers' swoon. In 12 September appearances, covering a mere nine innings, Broxton has been lit up for nine runs. September is not when you want your setup man's ERA to octuple. He gave up two runs in each of three separate losses in a four-day span before being shelved with a sore arm.

Broxton has been a shining light on what the future holds. Sure, he got hit hard at the end of the year, but much of that is due to a sore arm and a workload that exceeded career highs. Besides, as Jon Weisman wrote recently,
"(the) team's young players have been among its most productive,"
and Broxton is a part of that group.

Furcal is a different situation.
Furcal, whose personal late-season nosedive perfectly mirrored the team's collapse. Before being shelved with a back injury, Furcal was 14-for-76 (.184) with a puny .213 OBP in his last 80 plate appearances. His .224 slugging percentage over that span gave him a .437 OPS in what may be his last 19 games of the season.
He has been playing hurt all year and his stats show it. Should he have rested more to heal up? Probably, but I hardly blame him for this years growing pains.

At the end of the day, this years collapse can be squarely blamed on everybody. It was a team effort that saw inconsistent pitching, an inconsistent offense and managerial decisions that can be considered questionable. Fortunately, as Jon said,
"any idiot can see that the team's future is brighter than its past."

In other news Hench includes Gagne as one of this years great chokers.
He may have earned the win in Boston's playoff-clinching victory Saturday night,
but the man known throughout New England as Gag-me hasn't convinced anyone in
Red Sox Nation that he can get a big out in the playoffs. After posting a 1.32
ERA for the Rangers in the first half, he's seen that number spike to 7.36 in
the second half (7.88 for the Sox). He was scored on in seven of his first 14
appearances for Boston and three times he turned what looked like easy wins into
losses with major meltdowns in which he surrendered three or more runs.
All I can say is good luck in the playoffs, and good luck to Boras as he tries to get him a huge contract.
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