Jonathan Broxton's Time Might Finally Be Up

LOS ANGELES CA - AUGUST 17: Jonathan Broxton #51 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a play for the final of of the game on Eric Young #3 of the Colorado Rockies to preserve a 5-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on August 17 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

If Jonathan Broxton was a horse, they would shoot him.

Well, unless "they" were the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have seemed determined for more than a month to ride their horse to the finish line on three legs.

Maybe that's finally going to end after Tuesday night, though. Broxton entered a tie game, retired the first batter he faced, then walked the next two batters -- both of whom eventually scored -- on eight pitches. After which Broxton was yanked and another reliever finished losing the game. Here's True Blue L.A.:

Regarding Broxton, this may have been the final straw in terms of keeping his closer spot. After the game, Don Mattingly told reporters that Broxton was still his closer, but didn't sound convincing. "When guys tell you they're fine, you believe that. The inconsistency in velocity concerns me. You don't know if you're getting the whole story. We need to figure this thing out," Mattingly said (as relayed on DodgerTalk on KABC).

Really, this whole thing has been an exercise in abject stubbornness, perpetrated by the entire Dodgers organization.

Granted, there have been some unfortunate distractions. But the distractions weren't enough to keep management from letting Russ Martin get away, or grabbing Tony Gwynn and his sub-.300 on-base percentage, or signing Jon Garland and Matt Guerrier. They couldn't have spared just a few moments between October and March, figuring out if there was some good reason for Broxton's 7.58 ERA from last June 28 through the end of the season? And whether that good reason might still be extant at the beginning of this season?

The only positive is that the Dodgers have actually lost only twice because of Broxton's performance: last night, and against the Marlins on April 25, when he gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. But even that's less than charitable, because the Dodgers obviously might have lost last night no matter what Broxton did, since the game was tied when he entered.

Really, we can lay just one loss at Broxton's feet, and for that the Dodgers should be immensely grateful. It's not too late. There's still time to shoot the horse, saddle up another steed, and catch up with the field.

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