by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com (5/18/2013) Brewers reliever John Axford escaped with his first win Saturday night against the Cardinals.
Axford (1-3) pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing a hit, two walks and struck out three in a 6-4 extra-inning win. He has not allowed a run in his last 2 2/3 innings.
Brewers running out of options with John Axford
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com (5/16/2013) Brewers reliever John Axford could be headed to the minors to work out his struggles if he doesn't get back on track soon, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Manager Ron Roenicke has stood by Axford throughout his struggles, but admitted there have been discussions about sending him to the minors. Roenicke said it could happen, but "hopefully it won't." Axford has a 9.00 ERA and a 7.15 FIP in 15 innings.
John Axford 'frustrated' by struggles
by Ed Gauna | CBSSports.com (5/15/2013) Brewers reliever John Axford gave up another run in his appearance on Tuesday night against the Pirates and suffered his third blown save. The right-hander has a 9.20 ERA through 14 2/3 innings pitched.
"I definitely am frustrated," Axford told MLB.com on Wednesday. "I can't lie about that, but I feel strong, I feel good and that's where I've got to keep building off of. The first four games of this season, that wasn't me, and that's something I can get a wash too and brush that away. I felt different; my mechanics weren't quite right."
"I don't know; it's hard to figure out," Roenicke stated. "We still have confidence in him, and nothing seems to go right. So we'll see."
John Axford roughed up again
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com (5/5/2013) Brewers reliever John Axford took another step back as he failed to make it out of the eighth inning Sunday afternoon against the Cardinals.
Axford gave up a single and walked the next two batters before surrendering a one-out, run-scoring single to Tony Cruz.
"Mechanically, the ball felt good coming out," Axford said. "Today was one of those days where I just didn't physically feel like myself."
The right-hander watched his ERA rise from 9.49 to 9.95 after Sunday's abysmal outing. Manager Ron Roenicke has not considered sending him down to minors to work on his mechanics, according to MLB.com.
"No, it's not [under discussion]," Roenicke said. "We feel he can get it back together. We saw him do it last year, and still feel that he can do it. … It's the same thing that he was in [last season], whether it's confidence, whether it's mechanical. If it's mechanical, Rick [Kranitz, the pitching coach] and Lee [Tunnell, the bullpen coach] will figure it out."
John Axford's role in flux
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com (5/2/2013) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will be playing matchups in the eighth inning rather than using one set option moving forward after John Axford picked up his third loss of the season Wednesday.
"Whether it's the seventh, eighth [for Axford], I don't know for sure," Roenicke told MLB.com. "It's probably easier on us, when we're looking at lineups, to do it that way. I know the players want to be in a role, but sometimes those hitters don't match up with what you're putting out there."
Axford has allowed 13 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings this year.
John Axford takes the loss against Pittsburgh
by Jack Moore | CBSSports.com (5/1/2013) Brewers reliever John Axford took his third loss as he allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits in 2/3 of an inning Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
Axford was on a hot streak entering the appearance, with eight strikeouts against no walks and just one earned run allowed in his last 7 1/3 innings. However, Starling Marte touched him up for a two-run homer and a couple of softly-hit balls snuck through for hits. The Brewers have talked about him leapfrogging Jim Henderson and regaining the closer's role, but this appearance will likely stall those thoughts.
Henderson, who replaced Axford as Milwaukee's closer, is 5 for 5 in save chances and has only allowed one run over his first 10 appearances, while racking up 147 strikeouts compared to just two walks.
"You want to keep with what’s going well. I think that’s the biggest thing," Axford said. "Things are going good right now, winning nine in a row. Losing that tough one [on Wednesday] in San Diego, we had a shot of winning that one at the end, too. You really want to keep with what’s strong and what’s working, I think."
Axford has racked up four holds to go along with six strikeouts and no walks over his last six outings and opponents are hitting just .118 (2 for 17) off him over that span.
John Axford returning to closer's role?
by Ed Gauna | CBSSports.com (4/24/2013) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told MLB.com on Wednesday that John Axford could return to the closer's role in the near future. Axford has a 9.35 ERA through 10 appearances and blew his lone save chance.
Jim Henderson has been serving as closer for Milwaukee, converting all five of his save opportunities.
"That's nothing against Henderson, he's done a great job for us pitching there," Roenicke said. "But I think with Ax, because of his breaking ball and when he's throwing it well, I think Ax has a chance to repeat that season what he had two years ago."
Roenicke added that Axford has made a minor adjustment to his throwing motion.
"It was just something small and mechanical that you carry over into playing catch, and it's something I've continued to do to make sure it feels natural on the mound," Axford said. "Right now, everything feels smooth."
John Axford still not the closer
by Adam Moore | CBSSports.com (4/19/2013) Despite four straight scoreless appearances, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke isn't ready to name John Axford his closer.
"I still think there's a little bit to go," Roenicke told MLB.com. "But all of his fastballs are down in the zone, unless he tries to make a guy swing at a high one, which is what he used to do. When he comes in and he's throwing all pitches down, I feel he's going to do well. … I like what he's doing."
Axford has allowed just two hits with five strikeouts and no walks over his last four innings.
Jim Henderson will continue to see save chances for the time being.
John Axford is looking good
by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer (4/18/2013) With the Brewers sporting a 7-1 lead, supplanted closer John Axford entered Thursday's game against the Giants and threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence.
In his last three games, Axford has pitched three innings, given up a hit, walked none and struck out three. His ERA is still 12.79, and it may take a while for that to come down to even "bad" levels, but Axford is looking good again, which should be a heartening development for owners in deeper leagues who held onto him. Nothing is imminent, but Axford at least looks good enough to close again.
Francisco Rodriguez re-joining the Brewers shouldn't be much of a concern for Axford owners, but Jim Henderson's effectiveness at closing should. Still, the plan all along -- even apparent to Henderson -- was for Axford to straighten things out in middle relief, then return to the closer role. So far, it looks like he has held up his half of that bargain.
John Axford is the boomerang from Zelda
by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer (4/10/2013) Maybe my John Axford advice on Tuesday ("pick him up if he's dropped in your league!") was somewhat untimely, as the embattled reliever gave up three runs on two walks and a hit against the Cubs Tuesday night. But I'm sticking with the analysis and picking up the scraps as owners drop him.
Just to clarify -- I wasn't saying start him. I wasn't saying he'd be awesome immediately. I wasn't even saying I like him a lot. I was just saying that the Brewers' plan -- for all the world to see -- is to fix Axford, then reinstall him as the closer. I figured it would take a couple weeks; it may take a little longer.
Axford is, for lack of a better comparison, the boomerang from The Legend of Zelda. And not in the corny "he will come back around" way. Yes, you may have a white sword now (even one that shoots other glowing swords from it), as well as a candle and a bomb (say, Addison Reed and Kenley Jansen) but that doesn't mean you just throw away the boomerang. You keep it in your arsenal, because it may come in handy later. If you never use it again, such is life. But there's no reason to think that something helpful early won't be helpful again. That is John Axford right now. Wholly useless, but worth hanging on to just in case.
Don't be too trigger-happy with John Axford
by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer (4/9/2013) Upon news of his demotion to middle relief on Tuesday, John Axford was unceremoniously dropped by Fantasy owners, with his ownership percentage shrinking from 93 percent to 76 percent (and this is before Tuesday night FAAB and waivers run). I may be very alone in this, but I'm sniping Axford up in most leagues where he's been shed.
Manager Ron Roenicke said the plan is to let Axford get back in a groove and then return him to the closer's role. This isn't to say Jim Henderson isn't worth a pickup -- saves are saves, and he will get a handful while Axford works his way back -- but with all the closer uncertainty out there, it makes sense for deeper league owners to hold on to Axford, as there's even historical precedence (it happened last year) to Axford being briefly replaced by Henderson before the reins were turned back over to Axford.
Additionally, Henderson was just a gust of wind from giving up a grand slam to Starlin Castro in Monday's game. Castro battled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the bases loaded before flying out to the warning track in deep right. If the wind wasn't blowing in so hard, it would have been a home run and views on Axford and Henderson would be very different today.
If you can afford to hold on to Axford, I would do it. He could be closing games for the Brewers by the end of the month.
John Axford out as closer in Milwaukee
by Ed Gauna | CBSSports.com (4/8/2013) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced after Monday's win over the Cubs that John Axford is no longer the closer.
Jim Henderson, who earned the save against Chicago, will take over the job.
"I told (Axford) I want him to be our closer, and how we think is the best way to get him back in that role, which is pretty much what we did with him last year (in the middle of the season)," said Roenicke.
"We'll put him back in wherever it's going to be, sixth (inning), seventh, maybe eighth, and let him get his stuff back. Once he gets his stuff back, we'll put him back in that role again."
Axford has a 20.25 ERA through three appearances, surrendering four home runs in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander also blew his lone save chance.
Change may come for John Axford
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com (4/8/2013) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke may be ready to demote John Axford from the closer role. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Roenicke will have a meeting with Axford before discussing the closer situation to the public.
The right-hander gave up a two-run home run to pinch-hitter Eric Hinske that cost the Brewers the game in the 11th. He has a whopping 20.25 ERA, 3.00 WHIP and has served up four home runs through three appearances.
John Axford still serving up long balls
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com (4/7/2013) Brewers closer John Axford continued his struggles as he could not keep the ball in the park again Sunday afternoon against the Diamondbacks.
Axford entered the game in the 10th inning and retired the side in order. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke elected to stick with Axford in the 11th and the move failed miserably. The right-hander served up a two-run home run to pinch-hitter Eric Hinske to break a 6-all tie.
Axford was charged with two runs on two hits in just one inning of work and was pegged with the loss. He has a whopping 20.25 ERA, 3.00 WHIP and four round-trippers allowed through three appearances.
Something to John Axford's struggles?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer (4/4/2013) After John Axford's blown save Monday against the Rockies, Al Melchior, Nando Di Fino and I all preached patience.
He allowed only a solo home run and he struck out the side.
But then came his performance in a non-save situation Wednesday, when he allowed two home runs and five total hits in two-thirds of an inning. Maybe patience would again be the proper approach if not for this comment by Brewers manager Ron Roenicke afterward:
"[His velocity] was way down," Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We'll talk to him and see how he's doing but I noticed it was way down. He says he feel fine." FanGraphs had Axford's average fastball velocity at 92.4 Wednesday, down 2.3 miles per hour from Monday.
Not sure what to make of this yet. If Axford's velocity was OK Monday, then presumably he can get it back. Still, with Roenicke expressing concern, I'd want to stash Jim Henderson if I owned Axford or simply needed saves.
John Axford not keeping ball in park
by Ed Gauna | CBSSports.com (4/4/2013) Brewers closer John Axford endured another rough outing Wednesday night against the Rockies.
After blowing the save on opening day, he allowed three runs on five hits over two-thirds of an inning.
The right-hander came on in the ninth with his team trailing by one and gave up a leadoff single before Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer. Axford surrendered a solo home run to Dexter Fowler and was pulled after throwing 18 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Axford has a 21.60 ERA through two appearances while getting tagged with three home runs.
John Axford's blown save no big deal
by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer (4/1/2013)John Axford's season got off to a bit of a rocky start on Monday, as he gave up a ninth inning home run to Dexter Fowler with two outs, erasing a save opportunity, incurring a blown save, and causing any of his owners to shake their heads before dusk on opening day.
But fear not, Axford owners! The home run was the only hit he gave up in the ninth, he didn't walk anyone, and he struck out three (for perspective, Axford struck out as many players in one inning as Yovani Gallardo did in five). Plus, the Brewers eventually won the game, anyway. There is no need to panic here with Axford, even though Jim Henderson pitched a flawless 10th for the win. Continue to trot him out as your closer, and expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 saves in what should be a bounceback year.
John Axford pitches scoreless inning
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com (3/30/2013) Brewers closer John Axford worked the third inning of the team's final Cactus League game Saturday, pitching a scoreless inning while striking out one and allowing one hit and one walk. He ended the spring with a 5.87 ERA in 7 2/3 innings and was not scored upon in his final three appearances.
John Axford exhibiting control
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com (3/29/2013) Brewers closer John Axford battled control issues throughout the 2012 season, finishing the year with 39 walks in 69 1/3 innings. This spring has been a different story, as Axford has only walked one batter in 6 2/3 innings of Grapefruit League action, and that free pass came back in February. Axford also made two World Baseball Classic appearances for Team Canada without surrendering a walk. If he can put his control issues of 2012 behind him, Axford could be in for a nice rebound season.
Axford needed vs. Team USA
(3/10/2013) Brewers closer John Axford was called upon by Team Canada in the ninth inning of Sunday's World Baseball Classic matchup against the USA with two on and one out. The right-hander put anther man on before giving up an three-run double to Eric Hosmer. Axford would make it through the frame further unscathed and did not factor into the decision in the 9-4 loss.
Axford finishes off Mexico
(3/9/2013) Brewers closer John Axford was called upon by Team Canada in the ninth inning of Saturday's World Baseball Classic matchup against Mexico in the ninth inning with a seven-run lead. The right-hander retired all three batters he faced to secure the 10-3 win. Axford also struck out one.
Axford saves game against own team
by Jeff Lippman | CBSSports.com (3/5/2013) Team Canada decided to pitch Milwaukee closer John Axford against the Brewers on Tuesday afternoon to close out an exhibition victory. Axford picked up the save for Team Canada against his major league team as he allowed two hits and struck out two in a scoreless inning. Axford has made three appearances in Cactus League play and has allowed four earned runs over 2 2/3 innings for a 13.50 ERA.
Axford tagged with second loss
(3/1/2013) Brewers closer John Axford took his second loss of the Cactus League on Friday against the Rockies. He allowed one run on two hits over an inning of work in the 5-2 defeat. Axford also struck out one while watching his ERA rise to 13.50 for the spring.
Axford blows lead in spring game
by Jeff Lippman | CBSSports.com (2/26/2013) Brewers closer John Axford took over a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning of Tuesday's Cactus League showdown against the Mariners. Unfortunately for the closer, Axford couldn't hold that lead after striking out the first two batters he faced. Axford proceeded to walk Eric Thames and Carlos Peguero tied the game with a double. Justin Smoak then opened it up to give the Mariners the lead with a home run. Axford blew the save and took the loss as he allowed three earned runs on two hits and a walk with two Ks over 2/3 of an inning.
by Bill Passonno | CBSSports.com (2/23/2013) Brewers pitcher John Axford hurled a pristine inning of relief during Milwaukee's 2-1 win over Oakland in a Cactus League matchup Saturday. Axford replaced starter Mike Fiers to begin the third inning and retried the side in order during his spring debut. The 29-year-old tallied 35 saves last season, but faltered from June to August en route to nine total blown saves -- more than the combined total from his first three seasons (five).
Axford slightly changing setup
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com (2/14/2013) Brewers relief pitcher John Axford told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Thursday that he has made one small change to his setup during the offseason which may leave him more relaxed and loose. According to the report, he hopes that this will translate into more consistency heading into the new season. "A light went on," Axford said. "It feels tremendous. It feels great. I think that's the spot last year where I'd get locked up at times because my hands would be set too far back and I'd start closing my shoulder a little bit." Axford also told reporters that he plans to use his fastball more this season. "(Pitching coach) Rick (Kranitz) and (bullpen coach) Lee (Tunnell) both think it's a fantastic change. It's not like I did anything drastic. It was something easy and it makes me feel more loose."
Brewers, Axford reach agreement
by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer (1/18/2013) CBSSports.com Senior Columnist Danny Knobler reported on Friday that John Axford has agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the Brewers, avoiding arbitration.