JOHN AXFORD IS THE WORST PITCHER EVER AND I HATE HIM AND IF IT WASN'T FOR HIM AND HIS STUPID BLOWN SAVES WE WOULD PROBABLY BE IN FIRST PLACE AND BE BIG TIME BUYERS AT THE TRADE DEADLINE LIKE WE'D PROBABLY GET PRINCE BACK AND COLE HAMELS AND PAUL MOLITOR AND JESUS AND BATMAN AND A NEW MANAGER WHO COULD PROBABLY JUST BE BATMANS BUTLER ALFRED BECAUSE HE SEEMS REALLY SMART. MAN CAN YOU GUYS BELIEVE THAT ROBIN DIED IN DARK KNIGHT RISES? ANYWAYS IF IT WASNT FOR STUPID AXFORD PULLING A derrick turnbow THEN WE'D PROBABLY HAVE ALL THOSE GUYS AND JOSH HAMILTON TOO AND THEN WIN LIKE A MILLION WORLD SERIES. WE COULD HAVE LIKE REALLY COOL COMMERCIALS WITH AARON RODGERS AND RYAN BRAUN BEING LIKE YO CHECK OUT MY RING DUDE, NO YOU CHECK OUT MY RING DUDE LOL. THE POINT IS I HATE JOHN AXFORD AND HIS STUPID MUSTACHE AND I HOPE HE FALLS OFF A BRIDGE INTO A MILLION GALLONS OF WATER THAT IS ON FIRE AND IT BURNS HIS HAIR OFF BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO CUT IT OFF ANYWAYS BECAUSE IT ANNOYS ME WHEN HE IS ON TV BLOWING A SAVE AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE HIM PITCH EVER EVER AGAIN.
HE WAS COOL LAST YEAR THO.
I don't know maybe I'm just defensive about people who overreact to things, but that's how everyone sounds to me when they talk about John Axford. Crazy, irrational, stupid; basically like any girl who has ever dated me for over three months.
Not that a lot of the vitriol towards John Axford is undeserved. He hasn't really done his job all that well this season. He's had trouble locating his pitches which leads to walks and bad counts which lead to big homeruns. It's not been a real fun time to be John Axford this season and he knows it, just like you know that watching John Axford has not been very fun. But has he really been that bad?
Yes. Yes he has. He's giving up 1.5 homeruns per 9 innings. Six homeruns so far after allowing only five in his entire career before 2012. That's some Tyler Thornburg type numbers. His ERA is bad and his FIP doesn't do that high ERA many favors either. He's walking people at the highest rate of his career (pretending those 7 games in 2009 didn't happen.) He's allowed one or more base runners in 30 out of 40 appearances. He has six blown saves which is one more than he had in two years of closing before this. He's allowed 2+ runs eight times. He's not been good. Turnbow-esque? No. As my buddy thegnc said, wait until he has a 17 pitch 4 strike outing before you drop the T word. Seriously, stop saying that. It's so dumb. Almost every team would kill to have John Axford in their bullpen right now. Nobody wanted Derrick Turnbow after his last Brewers season. Not even Mrs. Turnbow.
The problem is that he has been bad, but he's still seemed like his old self at times. His results are terrible, but in a lot of ways so is his luck. You know, luck that thing in baseball that ruins your life or makes you look like a God. Like, oh I don't know, how it was luck that somehow allowed K-Rod to put the winning runs in scoring position the last two games and still get out of it. (For real, how did that happen? I can't figure it out.) John Axford has entered the game so many times this season in one-run or tie games where he had to be absolutely perfect or the Brewers would lose and he didn't get it done. Sometimes it was him, but sometimes it was bad luck too. Sometimes it was both. The game that cost him the closer's job was a perfect example of it. Yes, he walked two guys and he shouldn't have done that. (BAD AXFORD! BAD!) But he also had two little grounders and a bloop single in that inning that scored runs. A fraction of an inch off the bat and it's a ground out. Game over. Axford saves. Instead they got through, he is the worst pitcher ever and our fourth best reliever is now the closer. No more chances John. That's your damn luck. That's baseball and Axford knows it too:
"I've had plenty of opportunities this year. Some of them haven't gone my way, be it bad luck or what-not. But yesterday I put myself in that situation though it was ultimately a couple of ground balls and a flare that ended up beating me. It was the two walks, also. I wasn't finding anything. It would just be kind of selfish on my part to try to talk him out of that. The decision was not only for me but it's for the team as well."
I won't argue that John Axford didn't deserve to lose the closer's job because there are enough performances that can be blamed on him and only him and like he said they had to do something about that for the team. Still, I continue to believe in John Axford and it isn't because he writes me on twitter or because he has a cool mustache. I still believe in John Axford because he has the best arm in the bullpen (Doug agrees) and despite his issues he is the only one I would trust in a "last scene in Major League" type situation. Maybe we should get him some glasses. He is still good. John Axford is averaging over 12 strikeouts per nine innings, 8th among NL relievers. That is a lot. Does that sound like someone who has "lost it" to you? He still fools people. He can still be unhittable at times. He is still John Axford.
Look, 2011 was a crazy season and at the end of his career it very well could be the best season of John Axford's long major league career. He was healthy, he was unhittable and he was lucky. He hasn't been that this year and he might not ever be that great again, but he is still an above average reliever who we are lucky to have on our team. He is still an integral part of this team's future. We should probably try and act like it. #WeStillLoveAx