Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer 1st in line 2nd in line 2015 Closer Updated
MIL Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith Jonathan Broxton 9/28/14
(DL) Jim Henderson

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Previous updates:

September 28, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless 9th inning for his 44th save of the season.  It was also K-Rod’s 348th career save, which moves him into 10th place all-time.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

September 19, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers, now 8-19 in their last 27 games, should be fighting with their every last breath for a shot to remain in the playoff race. Instead, they lost a 13-inning game yesterday in which their best reliever, Francisco Rodriguez, did not pitch, as he was presumably waiting for a save chance that never came. Yes, this is a site designed to help fantasy baseball owners, and those with K-Rod are probably fine with RRR’s decision to leave him in the wings while the Brewers lost yet again. But the “never pitch your closer without a lead on the road” is probably the single worst still-accepted old-school baseball stratagem out their right now, and we feel the need to rant about it at least once a season. SMH, RRR. SMH.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

September 10, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee is now 1-13 over its last 14 games, with the latest loss coming on the strength of two two-out home runs surrendered by closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod’s 14 home runs allowed are the highest in the league for a reliever.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

September 1, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and the big righty will share set-up duties with lefty Will Smith. With Francisco Rodriguez set to become a free agent next year — and Broxton under contract for $9 million — he’s among the favorites to close for the Brewers in 2015.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Broxton | Smith.

August 28, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Although Jeremy Jeffress struggled in the seventh last night, the former top prospect has been getting a lot of high-leverage looks for the Brewers lately. He’s moved ahead of Brandon Kintzler, whose strikeout rate is alarmingly low (4.36 K/9).

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Jeffress.

August 15, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith has had an up and down season, which we’ve been thoroughly happy to chronicle with help from his IMDB page. Right now, he’s back on the upswing, with a bunch of recent 8th inning holds to his name. Last night, Smith pitched a perfect 8th with two strikeouts and is again the most likely candidate for saves when Francisco Rodriguez needs a night off.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Smith | Kintzler.

July 30, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – With only one earned run allowed in his first 26 innings, we started the season with Men in Black Will Smith: a man astride his craft, untouchable by mere mortals. A few hiccups in June downgraded him to Hancock – a flawed, complicated hero – and when he started July with nine runs in two innings, he had become a full-fledged Wild Wild West, worth watching only when Salma Hayek was with him. Smith climbed back up to Shark Tale (good intentions; poor aim) with some mid-July success, but after allowing three runs in a third of an inning on Tuesday night, he hit rock bottom. After Earth. Jim Henderson’s last scheduled rehab session was rained out on Tuesday, but once the Brewers activate him, Smith should transition into more of a DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.

July 16, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Although GM Doug Melvin identified the bullpen as one possible target for improvement via trade, their best move might be the impending return of Jim Henderson from the disabled list. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 11, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Outside of closer Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers bullpen has gone from sturdy to unwatchable over the past 30 days. The ERAs of their top three middle relievers have on June 11: Will Smith, 0.91; Rob Wooten, 2.91; Brandon Kintzler, 3.38. Today? Smith, 3.24; Wooten, 4.20; Kintzler, 3.86. Smith’s decline has been especially troubling, as the lefty was among the top middle relievers in the game over the first two months of the season. But his last 8 appearances have yielded 11 ERs in just 6.2 innings, including an absolute shellacking last night (5 ERs, 0 outs recorded). As it stands now, we don’t think the Brewers would hand the ball to Smith if K-Rod needed a night off. We’re not sure who would get the chance, actually, but we’ll give the nod to Kintzler for now, as a prize for regressing the least over the past month.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.

May 12, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Will Smith picked up his 10th hold of the season on Sunday, pitching a clean 8th inning ahead of Francisco Rodriguez. We at Closer Monkey are excited about Smith’s ascension, as it gives us the ability to make more terrible jokes about his name. Hierarchy change: Will Smith to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

May 3, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers - Jim Henderson has been placed on the DL with a sore shoulder.  Brandon Kintzler and Will Smith could both be used in the set-up role while Henderson is out.  Hierarchy change: Rodriguez | Kintzler | Smith.

April 25, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers - The Brewers have activated Brandon Kintzler from the DL.  Kintzler should jump right back into important spots in the 7th and 8th innings ahead of closer K-rod.  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line, replacing Will Smith.

April 14, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – With Francisco Rodriguez and Jim Henderson both getting the night off, lefty Will Smith was summoned for the one-out save chance, striking out the only man he faced on three pitches.  He’s the slickest they is, but he’s unlikely to get any more save opportunities while K-Rod and Henderson are both sporting 0.00 ERAs.  No hierarchy change.

April 13, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers - Brandon Kintzler has been placed on the DL.  Will Smith has been getting jiggy with it so far this year, throwing 6 scoreless innings with 8 k’s, and could see more time in the later innings.  Hierarchy change: Will Smith to 2nd in line, Brandon Kintzler  to DL

March 31, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers - Brewers fans and Jim Henderson owners were shocked to see Francisco Rodriguez pick up the save on Opening Day; after the game, manager Ron Roenicke apparently said that K-Rod would close and Henderson would move to middle relief until he “feels better.” Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, Jim Henderson to Set-Up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

March 13, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson pitched very well last year and has a bobblehead giveaway to look forward to — but also has Brandon Kintzler and human bobblehead K-Rod on his heels. Ranked #21 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 9, 2014
Milwaukee Brewers
 – Jim Henderson quietly converted 28 of his 32 save opportunities last year and will begin the season as the closer for the Brewers.  Brandon Kintzler was one of the better set-up men in baseball the second half of last season.  The Brewers also brought back K-Rod and he could jump ahead of Kintzler if something happens to Henderson, based on his closing experience.  Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Jim Henderson, Set-up – Brandon Kintzler, 2nd in line – Francisco Rodriguez. 

September 29, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Alfredo Figaro picked up the save in extra innings last night.  Henderson, Kintzler, and Wooten had all pitched in two straight games.  No hierarchy change.

August 20, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Brandon Kintzler had a very bad night on Monday, giving up six singles and four runs on his way to a blown save. This is merely an aberration in a very good season; hitters had managed only a .202 average against him before last night. No hierarchy change.

August 14, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Rob Wooten had 20 saves at AAA this year, and he’s been used in a couple tight eighth-inning spots over the past week. Meanwhile, John Axford hasn’t gotten a hold since he imploded back in late July. Hierarchy change: Rob Wooten to 2nd in line, replacing John Axford.

August 5, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Just a week ago, John Axford was being mentioned by Ron Roenicke as a possible part-time closer, but after a dominant stretch, the beleaguered righty has now given up 6 runs in his last 3.1 innings.  He’s been dropped back to middle inning duty, while Brandon Kintzler and Mike Gonzalez have gotten all the big 7th- and 8th-inning work ahead of re-established closer Jim Henderson.  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Set-up, John Axford to 2nd in line.

July 31, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford entered Tuesday afternoon’s game in the fifth inning after Yovani Gallardo left with hamstring tightness; just another reason to doubt that this is really a platoon situation. Axford has allowed four runs and eight hits in his last three appearances (1.2 IP). No hierarchy change.

July 29, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford merely had to hear his name mentioned in the same sentence as “closer,” and he’s turned back in to his old erratic self.  Since Ron Roenicke’s declaration that he’d go back and forth between Axford and Jim Henderson, Axford has given up 3 runs in 2.1 innings (and a loss last night), despite not actually getting a 9th inning save chance yet.  The value of Henderson, who has gotten two saves since the K-Rod trade, continues to grow with each Axford stumble.  No hierarchy change.

July 28, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers - Jim Henderson got the save on Saturday while John Axford gave up a run in the 8th inning.  Ron Roenicke said he was going to use both Henderson and Axford to close out games but Henderson has received both save opportunities since the K-Rod trade.  No hierarchy change.

July 24, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – As we feared, now that K-Rod is gone, Ron Roenicke told reporters before Tuesday’s game that Jim Henderson and John Axford will likely “flip-flop” future save opportunities. What can we say? The man loves him some drama. Note that Henderson pitched the ninth on Tuesday with the team down by four. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

July 23, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez has been traded to the Orioles.  Jim Henderson should take over as closer. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

July 18, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers have said that they won’t move Jim Henderson, who is well-positioned to move back into closing when they do trade Francisco Rodriguez. John Axford might be moved as well, but even if he’s not, we think he’s more likely to get save opportunities going forward than a traded K-Rod. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: BUY+ Jim Henderson, BUY John Axford, SELL Francisco Rodriguez.

July 2, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – We missed this one yesterday; thanks to a reader for pointing it out: Ron Roenicke said that in most situations, K-Rod will be his closer.  So we’re swapping them in our hierarchy and putting K-Rod on the Hot Seat for the time being, though Henderson should have the job back once K-Rod gets dealt at the deadline, which seems likely at this point.  Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, Jim Henderson to Set-up. 

July 1, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – A week after Ron Roenicke insisted that Jim Henderson was his closer, Sunday’s game provided some evidence to the contrary.  Henderson pitched the 8th inning, allowing a run and blowing the save in the process, while Francisco Rodriguez was held out of the game entirely until the 13th, seeming to fulfill the classically stupid (but conventionally accepted) theory that you don’t use your closer in a tie game on the road.  K-Rod eventually took the loss in the 14th.  The Brewers haven’t been winning much, making it hard for them to establish a clear hierarchy, but Henderson’s usage has been very un-closerlike this week.  After not working for four days, he pitched the 8th inning on Thursday.  Then he got the 8th again on Saturday, in a game the Brewers were losing.  Then came last night, when he was very clearly being used as a set-up man.  It’s possible that the Brewers are just juicing up K-Rod’s trade value, but either way, the next save opp in Milwaukee will hopefully provide some additional clarity.  No hierarchy change.

June 23, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers - Jim Henderson was given the night off after pitching three days in a row and Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 300th save last night.  K-Rod has been pitching well but since manager Ron Roenicke reiterated after the game on Thursday that Henderson is the closer it looks like K-Rod will only see save opps when Henderson is unavailable for the time being.  No hierarchy change.

June 21, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – With an 8th-inning blown save last night, Jim Henderson is adding some intrigue into the closer debate in Milwaukee.  Since returning from the DL, he’s pitched five innings, allowing three runs and two home runs, while Francisco Rodriguez has strung together six straight scoreless appearances to lower his season ERA to 0.68.  Given their respective numbers, it’s no longer a guarantee that Henderson gets the job back once K-Rod gets to 300 saves.  Also last night, John Axford pitched the 9th inning in a tie game, and has been used in higher-leverage spots than Brandon Kintzler as of late.  Hierarchy change: John Axford to 2nd in line, replacing Brandon Kintzler.

June 12, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Ron Roenicke’s attempt to ease Jim Henderson back into a late-inning role got off to a rocky start on Tuesday; Henderson blew the save in the eighth, denying Francisco Rodriguez a shot at save #299.  No hierarchy change.

June 10, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Yesterday morning, after activating Jim Henderson from the disabled list, Ron Roenicke said that the Brewers would give Francisco Rodriguez a crack at reaching 300 career saves (he currently has 298) before handing the job back to Jim Henderson.  Unless Henderson has some awful outings in his temporarily-middle-relief role, he’ll return to the closer role inside a week or two, so we’ll leave him in that spot in our hierarchy with that understanding.  Yesterday, Henderson looked no worse for the wear in his first outing back from the DL, pitching a clean 9th inning in a non-save situation.  No hierarchy change.

June 9, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson was activated from the disabled list after Saturday’s game.  He should resume closing immediately.  Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

June 8, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson struck out three in a rehab appearance on Friday and said he didn’t feel any hamstring discomfort at all.  He’s likely to be activated tomorrow and will re-assume the closer role immediately.  Francisco Rodriguez did an admirable job in his place, but will have to wait a while before he gets to 300 saves.  No hierarchy change.

June 1, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers - Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect 9th inning with 2 strikeouts and picked up his second save of the season last night.  He has pitched very well since getting called up and appears to have taken control of the 9th inning while Henderson is out.  No hierarchy change.

May 28, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – For the second straight game, Mike Gonzalez pitched in the seventh inning of a game the Brewers were trailing. If this truly is a closer-by-committee situation — and we’re not convinced it is — Brandon Kintzler has the second seat at the table. Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Set-up, Mike Gonzalez to 2nd in line.

May 26, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Ron Roenicke said he is unlikely to name any single closer, but some of his afternoon comments after the Brewers officially put Henderson on the DL, combined with the way he used the bullpen in a losing effort on Saturday gave some clarity as to who might be the best for saves.  It’s not John Axford, as Roenicke was asked specifically about him and said “I like what we’re doing with Ax.  I’d like to continue to do it that way,” reinforcing his comments by sending Axford out to pitch the 8th in a losing effort yesterday.  It’s also probably not Brandon Kintzler, as Roenicke said that the young righty might “move” to the 8th inning role, which was a little confusing since Kintzler has pitched the 8th inning for the past month.  Tom Gorzelanny had also seen some 8th inning action earlier this year, but he returned from the DL to pitch the 5th inning yesterday, so he’s also out of the mix.  That leaves Francisco Rodriguez and Mike Gonzalez, who were among the only members of the bullpen who didn’t see action yesterday.  If Roenicke is being honest about not using any one player to close games, those could share duties based on matchups.  Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, Mike Gonzalez to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line.

May 25, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers(UPDATE: Ron Roenicke has confirmed that Jim Henderson will be out for “a while,” and that he intends to use a committee of closers in Henderson’s absence.) After recording two outs, Jim Henderson went down with a hamstring injury, and the recently-returning Francisco Rodriguez got the last out for his first save of the season.  Henderson isn’t certain of the severity of the injury, saying after the game that he was hoping it was just a cramp.  Ron Roenicke was less optimistic though, offering that Henderson could miss a few days, and said that he could play matchups and go with a closer-by-committee until Henderson is back.  The Brewers have three pitchers with 9th inning experience: Rodriguez, Mike Gonzalez, and John Axford, but it’s been righty Brandon Kintzler who has gotten the 8th inning over the last few weeks.  If Henderson is missing time, we’ll handicap the race as follows until we hear more: Kintzler (30%), Rodriguez (30%), Axford (25%), Gonzalez (15%).  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Closer, Francisco Rodriguez to Set-up, Jim Henderson injured.

May 19, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford got the final out of the 8th inning and stayed on to pitch a scoreless 9th with the game tied.  He ended up getting the win after the Brewers scored two runs in the 10th inning, and if he continues to pitch well, he should work his way back towards the back end of the Brewers bullpen.  Hierarchy change:  John Axford to 2nd in line, replacing Burke Badenhop.

May 16, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Burke Badenhop pitched in the 7th inning last night in a game the Brewers were losing and has been surpassed on the Brewers’ threadbare depth chart by Brandon Kintzler.  Kintzler has put together a stretch of five straight scoreless outings, a span that includes two 8th-inning holds ahead of Jim Henderson.  Hierarchy change: Brandon Kintzler to Set-up, Burke Badenhop to 2nd in line.

May 15, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers - After using Burke Badenhop and Brandon Kintzler to get through the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, Ron Roenicke went to John Axford in the eighth. Roenicke’s patience was repaid with another blown save, albeit one that managed to lower Axford’s still-astronomical ERA and WHIP. No hierarchy change.

May 13, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Tom Gorzelanny was placed on the DL over the weekend.  Brandon Kintzler picked up an 8th-inning hold earlier this week and stands to get more high-leverage chances in Gorzelanny’s absence.  Hierarchy change: Burke Badenhop to Set-up, Brandon Kintzler to 2nd in line, Tom Gorzelanny to DL.

May 8, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Although John Axford was jettisoned as Milwaukee’s set-up man last week, the ever-mercurial Ron Roenicke left his options open by saying that he would play the matchups. Now that Axford was bypassed in Tuesday’s 8th in favor of mediocre Brandon Kintzler, it seems this demotion might actually stick. Hierarchy change: Tom Gorzellany to Set-up, Burke Badenhop to 2nd in line.

April 25, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – After an April 9th meltdown that cost him his job and sent his ERA to 24.30, John Axford has been turning things around.  With six straight scoreless outings in which he threw a total of 5.1 innings and only allowed to baserunners, Ron Roenicke said yesterday that it wouldn’t take much for him to return Axford to the closer role.  With that comment, suddenly, the reliable Jim Henderson is now looking over his shoulder, and the Ax Man is on the verge of returning to his old role.  Hierarchy change: John Axford to Set-up, Tom Gorzelanny to 2nd in line.  Jim Henderson to Hot Seat.

April 15, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Burke Badenhop picked up a 1-out save in the 10th inning on Sunday.  Jim Henderson and Tom Gorzelanny had both already pitched.  No hierarchy change.

April 10, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford took another loss yesterday and saw his ERA balloon to 24.30.  It’s unlikely he’ll be used in a high-leverage situation any time soon, leaving the set-up spot behind Jim Henderson wide open.  Mike Gonzalez, the only other player with closer experience in the bullpen, has also struggled so far this year, and was unable to get any outs after entering in the 7th.  Last night, with both Henderson and reliable lefty Tom Gorzelanny unavailable, Ron Roenicke was actually going to use Burke Badenhop in the 9th inning if there was a save chance.  As Roenicke shakes up his hierarchy, so do we.  Hierarchy change: Tom Gorzelanny to Set-up, replacing John Axford; Burke Badenhop to 2nd in line, replacing Mike Gonzalez.

April 8, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford got a vote of confidence from manager Ron Roenicke after a rough outing on Wednesday, but after taking the loss in an extra-inning game over the weekend, it appears that Roenicke is ready to make a move.  In a save situation this afternoon against the Cubs, it was Jim Henderson who emerged from the Milwaukee bullpen, not Axford.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had speculated on such a move this morning, and Henderson got the job done, striking out two while only allowing one hit.  Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up.

April 4, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford got rocked in a non-save situation on Wednesday, entering the game in the 9th inning with the Brewers down by a run and allowing three runs.  He’s now given up three home runs in just 1.2 innings this season, prompting Ron Roenicke to observe: “(His velocity) was way down.  We’ll talk to him and see how he’s doing.”  John Axford to Hot Seat.

February 24, 2013
Milwaukee Brewers – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- John Axford, Set-up- Jim Henderson, 2nd in line- Michael Gonzalez.

September 5, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez pitched a clean 7th inning on Tuesday, picking up his 25th hold of the year. K-Rod actually was summoned a week ago for a save chance when John Axford was unavailable, and while he blew that save chance, he has reestablished himself as a late-inning reliever in the Brewers bullpen. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line, replacing Kameron Loe.

August 25, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Kameron Loe got the last two outs of the game after John Axford couldn’t close the door on Friday. Axford returns to the Hot Seat with the bad outing, and the uncertainty continues in Milwaukee. No hierarchy change.

August 22, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford has apparently regained his job as Milwaukee closer, striking out three of the four Cubs he faced in today’s ninth. “He came in and talked to me,” Roenicke said. “I don’t want to say what went on, but he’s in a place where he should be.” Brewers fans will be forgiven for wondering just how long he can stay there. Hierarchy change: John Axford to Closer, Jim Henderson to Set-up.

August 22, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford earned a one-out save on Tuesday, as the Brewers used three relievers- Axford, Jim Henderson, and Manny Parra- to get through the 9th inning. Milwaukee’s big messy committee forges on, with Henderson still the most likely to get the save on any given night. No hierarchy change.

August 16, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson blew his second straight save on Wednesday, the 23rd blown save for the Brewers bullpen overall. Ron Roenicke didn’t say anything about the closer role after the game, so Henderson remains on the Hot Seat and virtually anyone is a decent candidate for the next save. Henderson and John Axford remain the best bets to seize the role for a significant period. No hierarchy change.

August 13, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Kameron Loe picked up his first save of the season as Ron Roenicke continues to follow through on his threat that everyone in the Brewers bullpen will get a shot at closing. Jim Henderson is still the best bet for saves moving on, but Loe should now be on fantasy radars. Hierarchy change: Kameron Loe to 2nd in line, replacing Francisco Rodriguez.

August 12, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – A day after inheriting the closer job from a struggling John Axford, Jim Henderson took the loss for the Brewers on Saturday night. He came on in the 9th inning and struck out the side, but then couldn’t find the plate in the 10th, as all four runners he faced reached base. Given the volatility of the Brewers bullpen and Ron Roenicke’s recent tendency to try anyone and everyone in the closer role, this outing is enough to put Henderson on notice. Jim Henderson to Hot Seat.

August 11, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford blew his 8th save of the season last night. After the game manager Ron Roenicke said that Jim Henderson was only guy in the bullpen pitching well. Roenicke also went on to say about Henderson, “We’ll give the ball to him and see what happens there.” Henderson will get a chance to close and could very well hold the job for the rest of the season if he continues to convert his chances. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Closer, John Axford to Set-up.

August 9, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson picked up his second save in as many days on Wednesday, leading many to anoint him the new Milwaukee closer. But there’s been no word on the 9th inning role from Ron Roenicke since before the game on Wednesday, when he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that “We can work them both in,” referring to Henderson and John Axford. For his part, Axford has been much better of late– he earned the win by pitching a scoreless 8th inning last night– so the next save chance will be key. If Henderson gets the call, he becomes the favorite as the reliever most likely to earn saves the rest of the year; anyone else, and Axford is still the best bet. No hierarchy change.

August 8, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Jim Henderson picked up his first big league save on Tuesday night, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. John Axford had thrown 29 pitches the night before, but the outing for Henderson was also well-deserved– the 29-year-old rookie now has a 1.50 ERA. Axford is still the best bet to emerge from the Brewers’ closer-by-committee, but Tuesday’s outing is a precursor for a more regular high-leverage role for Henderson. Hierarchy change: Jim Henderson to Set-up, Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line.

July 30, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers bullpen had another meltdown on Sunday, and all of their top relievers were to blame; John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, and Jose Veras all gave up multiple runs. Earlier this week, Ron Roenicke declared a closer-by-committee, with several Brewers beat writers thought Axford would quickly win his job back. He’s still likely to do so before the end of the season, but the Brewers may look elsewhere for saves in the near future. No hierarchy change.

July 27, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Ron Roenicke said on Thursday that the Brewers would go with a closer-by-committee for the time being. John Axford has pitched well since being removed from the role earlier this summer, and should easily win the job back if he continues to dominate. No hierarchy change.

July 25, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez just blew his second save in three days, prompting manager Ron Roenicke to say about the closer role: “We’ll talk about it… Tomorrow, we’ll see what we’re going to do.” While Roenicke wasn’t entirely committal, many Brewers beat writers have already predicted that John Axford, who threw 2 perfect innings with 3 Ks today, will be given the 9th-inning job back tomorrow. Hierarchy change: John Axford to Closer, Francisco Rodriguez to 2nd in line.

July 24, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Francisco Rodriguez blew his first save since inheriting the closer job, but did so in spectacular fashion, allowing four runs to score. If he falters again, John Axford could get his old job back. Francisco Rodriguez to Hot Seat.

July 17, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before Tuesday’s game that John Axford would be relieved of his closing duties for the time being. Francisco Rodriguez will inherit the 9th inning role, effective immediately. Hierarchy change: Francisco Rodriguez to Closer, John Axford to Set-up.

July 12, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he would like to see how the team performs in the weeks after the break before deciding to sell. But if they do, they have several players in the bullpen that could interest contenders. John Axford has blown a handful of saves this year, and like most closers on bottom feeders, could see his value drop if he is dealt and moved into a set-up role. Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras have also been mentioned in trade talks, though their values are likely to rise if they (or Axford) is moved. TRADE DEADLINE BUY+: Francisco Rodriguez. BUY: Jose Veras. SELL: John Axford.

June 20, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford gave up back-to-back home runs last night, and has now given up 9 ERs in his last 5 innings pitched, a span that includes three blown saves, and a fourth outing where he needed to be bailed out by Jose Veras. While Ron Roenicke said he’s ready to make a change just yet, Axford remains on the Hot Seat, with Francisco Rodriguez and his 292 saves waiting in the wings. No hierarchy change.

June 15, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford blew his second save in two days on Thursday, and has seen his ERA jump to 5.55 after giving up 7 runs in his last three outings. He would be in more danger if the Brewers had any lights-out middle relievers, but Francisco Rodriguez- the only real threat to Axford’s job- is also having a mediocre season. Still, if Axford continues to pitch poorly, the Brewers might have to look elsewhere. John Axford to Hot Seat.

June 11, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers – After John Axford got in trouble in the 9th inning on Sunday, Jose Veras came on and got the last out, recording his first save of the season. Axford has struggled in non-save situations this year, but is 10/11 in save chances and is not in danger of losing his job. No hierarchy change.

April 11, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers- Francisco Rodriguez was called on for the save last night because– as was noted in yesterday’s vulture save watch– John Axford had thrown 53 pitches over the previous two games. No hierarchy change.

March 19, 2012
Milwaukee Brewers- The Brewers re-signed Francisco Rodriguez in the offseason but John Axford is without question the closer for the Brewers. If Axford is injured, K-Rod would immediately step in as closer. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- John Axford, Set-up- Francisco Rodriguez, 2nd in line- Jose Veras.

Aug. 25, 2011
Milwaukee Brewers- Takashi Saito pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning yesterday with two strikeouts. He has better stats and more experience closing than Kameron Loe, and they used Saito in a fairly high-leverage situation yesterday. Hierarchy change: Saito to 2nd in line, replacing Loe.

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