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By: Joe Kleiber
Reliever John Axford has proven that he can get the job done in the ninth inning, unlike future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. With the way Axford has been pitching why would Ken Macha bother giving Hoffman the closer's job back?
The Brewers might have their closer of the future in Axford. His command was spotty in the minors, but he has shown good command thus far.
Axford also can throw some gas in the 95-96 mph range, where Hoffman hasn't seen any improvement on his velocity in years. Axford's numbers so far this year are: 1-0 2.79 ERA 14 ks 4 bbs 3 saves. Hoffman's numbers are awful: 1-4 11.00 ERA 12 ks 10 bbs 5 saves 5 bl saves.
Eveery time the Brewers have asked Axford to get the job done and close things out, he has done it. It looked as if Ken Macha was easing Hoffman back into the closing job after he had a few clean outings, but Hoffman blew it again the other night in a tie game in the eighth inning.
I don't think Macha should bother playing musical chairs with his bullpen right now and just stick with what has worked until Axford proves otherwise. Hoffman needs to accept the fact that he can't get the job done anymore. His stuff doesn't fool hitters anymore and if he's not fooling batters then he shouldn't be closing.
It's always tough for a manager to tell a Hall of Famer that he's done doing what he does best, but general manager Doug Melvin and Ken Macha need to tell Hoffman that he's done. Hoffman needs to accept the fact that he can't close anymore and do what's best for the team.
Axford may not have the dominant stuff of a great closer, but the Brewers have no other choice but to stick with him right now. With each save, Axford's confidence will keep getting better and he will eventually become the everyday closer.
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