Drew Silva

Baseball Daily Dose

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Ax Man Getting Axed?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

There may be some closer turnover in Milwaukee.

John Axford blew his third save since June 13 in Tuesday night’s 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays and now carries a brutal 5.60 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 27-plus total innings this year.

His fastball velocity is better than ever at an average of 96.3 mph and he’s striking out batters at a career-high rate (12.51 K/9), but the right-hander has coughed up far too many big hits this summer. And the Brewers can’t afford to fall further and further back in the seemingly wide open National League Central standings.

So look for some amount of change before Wednesday’s second of three games with Toronto.

The guess here is that Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke will talk about using a “committee” in the ninth inning until Axford can “get it figured out.” But we’ve got our eye on one particular guy -- and you’ve probably heard of him.

Brewers setup man Francisco Rodriguez has allowed no runs and just three hits in his last five relief appearances and boasts a cool 30/11 K/BB ratio through 32 1/3 innings this season. He obviously has tons of experience in the ninth-inning role and is capable of delivering successfully converted saves on the opportunities that the Brewers allow him to vulture. Go grab K-Rod. And stop asking us to confirm whether this is the year 2012.

Razzle Dazzle Heating Up For Toronto

Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus decided to make some changes to his plate approach late last month, converting to more of an upright and open batting stance in an effort to break out of an offensive slump that dated back to his final year with the Cardinals. And it certainly seems to have worked.

Rasmus smashed two solo home runs in Tuesday night’s 10-9 defeat of the Brewers and has now tallied eight hits in his last 17 at-bats. His batting average was a hideous .206 on May 8. It’s now .259. His OPS was a less-than-pedestrian .610 on May 17. It’s now .804. Oh, and he has 12 home runs.

Rasmus had the look of a future All-Star during his sophomore season in St. Louis and seems to be getting back to the methods that helped him to that string of success. Maybe this is just a hot streak. Maybe it’s not meant to last all summer. But the talented 25-year-old has seemed capable of big things since the day he was drafted 28th overall out of an Alabama high school, and he’s suddenly a must-start again in all mixed fantasy leagues.

CarGo Nearing Return To Colorado Lineup

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez hasn’t appeared in a game since Saturday because of a mild right knee strain. But he reported feeling significant improvement when catching up with reporters Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be ready for Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies.

“I will be in there tomorrow,” he told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. “They just want me to rest it one more day.”

Gonzalez, 26, is batting .335/.394/.629 with 17 home runs, 51 RBI and nine stolen bases in 60 games this year.

National League Quick Hits: Major League Baseball suspended Freddy Galvis 50 games after he tested positive for the anabolic steroid Clostebol … Bud Norris (knee) is scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday at Triple-A Oklahoma City and should be ready as soon as he’s eligible to be activated from the disabled list … Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison finished 3-for-4 with five RBI in a loss Tuesday night against the Red Sox … Johan Santana scattered four hits over six scoreless innings Tuesday in a defeat of the Orioles … Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is up to 20 saves … The Cardinals activated utilityman Skip Schumaker from the disabled list before Tuesday’s loss to Detroit … Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base in Tuesday’s victory over the Twins … Nationals slugger Michael Morse belted his first home run of the season on Tuesday evening against the Rays … Lance Lynn was shelled for five earned runs on nine hits in a rough five-inning start Tuesday against the Tigers … The Rockies have moved struggling right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to the bullpen and are testing out a four-man rotation … Carlos Ruiz smacked his ninth home run of the season in Tuesday’s victory over Colorado … Ryan Howard (ruptured Achilles tendon) has been cleared for base-running workouts … The Phillies may be preparing to activate Chase Utley (knee) by the end of June … Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal is being bothered by a deep shin bruise … Phillies reliever David Herndon underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Tuesday afternoon … Jayson Werth could be ready to return from wrist surgery in late July.

American League Quick Hits: The Rays placed starter Jeremy Hellickson on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue … Tigers closer Jose Valverde is day-to-day with right wrist discomfort … Mitch Moreland could be headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain that he suffered on Tuesday night … A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) may be able to serve as Oakland's designated hitter on Wednesday … Jake Peavy tossed a complete game in a hard-luck loss to the Cubs on Tuesday night … Dustin Pedroia is day-to-day after exiting Tuesday’s game with renewed discomfort in his right thumb … Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar hurled 7 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday in an easy defeat of the Astros … Joe Mauer (quad) is aiming to return to the Twins’ starting lineup on Wednesday … The Mariners are promoting top pitching prospect Danny Hultzen from Double-A Jackson to Triple-A Tacoma … Rays setup man Joel Peralta was ejected from Tuesday’s game against the Nationals after umpires found excessive pine tar in his glove … Matt Joyce is day-to-day with back tightness … A’s reliever Andrew Carignan underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Tuesday … Tigers starter Drew Smyly pronounced himself “good to go” after testing the blister on his left middle finger and should be activated from the disabled list as soon as he’s made eligible… Brett Anderson (elbow surgery) is aiming to begin throwing off a mound next week … Johnny Damon is day-to-day with lower back soreness … The Yankees are hoping that young right-hander Michael Pineda (shoulder) will be able to begin a throwing program in mid-September.

Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
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