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Torre Too Quick To Call On Broxton

On Saturday, Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre called on Jonathan Broxton with two outs in the eighth inning, with two runners on base and a five-run lead:

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It was the second time in three days Broxton has been called into a game in a non-save situation, as he was brought in with a four-run lead Thursday in Anaheim, in a situation the Dodgers already had a 95.5% win expectancy.

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I understand the need to get Broxton regular work, and he did face one batter in a 10-day stretch ending early this week. I understand the need for the Dodgers, who had lost six straight and eight of 11 before Thursday in Anaheim, to record a win. But I also think that’s what other relievers are for.

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Outside of Broxton, the amazing Hong-Chih Kuo, and Ronald Belisario, the Dodger bullpen has been a mixed bag of arms that Torre no longer trusts to get key outs. Perhaps I am just being a worry wart, but not letting George Sherrill or Jeff Weaver, or one of the other arms in the bullpen finish yesterday’s game could lead to a situation when Broxton or Kuo is unavailable, in a much closer game, and Torre will have to use one of his lesser arms in a much higher-leverage role than a five-run lead. That, to me, doesn’t seem like optimal bullpen usage.