Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 4/4/13
Mlb-brewers-cubs-june
MILWAUKEE -- John Axford sat at his locker and even cracked a joke to lighten the mood. What he couldn't do is explain what just happened. With Thursday off, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke gave Axford work in the ninth inning with Milwaukee trailing 4-3. The Brewers' closer gave up three runs on five hits - including two home runs - while recording just two outs in Milwaukee's 7-3 loss to Colorado. It hasn't been the start to the season Axford has wanted in his attempt to bounce back from an up-and-down year in 2012. In the season opener Monday, Axford blew the save when Dexter Fowler hit a two-out solo home run on a first-pitch fastball. One thing noticeable has been the drop in Axford's velocity. His fastball has sat in the 91-93 miles per hour range, down from the usual 94-96. "I feel fine," Axford said. "I don't know what to say, I don't know." It's a notion around baseball that closers don't pitch well in non-closing situations, which Wednesday's outing was. Axford doesn't feel he approaches such outings any differently. "I don't think I've ever made it one," Axford said. "You want to go out there with the same intensity and the same enthusiasm no matter what the situation. It was a one-run ballgame right there. If I put up a zero right there we have a good opportunity to win the game in the ninth, especially with our offense. I didn't come through. I didn't do my job of holding it there." It wasn't just Axford that struggled against Colorado. Milwaukee's pitching staff allowed 41 hits and eight home runs in the three-game series. None of the three starting pitchers made it past the sixth inning, putting an early toll on the bullpen. "We need to pitch better," Roenicke said. "The starters, and the relievers need to. We need to get ahead of people. I know it's early but we still need to pitch better." The obvious question mark coming into the season was the pitching staff, both the rotation and rebuilt bullpen. In order for the bullpen to have success, the rotation must eventually go deeper into games and Axford must provide a steady anchor. Roenicke will have a conversation with Axford in the near future about the dip in velocity, but has had no indication his closer is hurt or suffering from a dead-arm period possibly brought on by his participation in the World Baseball Classic. Three games in, Axford isn't worried about opinions forming about him just yet. "It's way too early," Axford said. "Other than the couple of extra home runs, I was off to a worse start in the beginning of 2011. People formed opinions then, too, and things can change. It's a long season, we have 159 games left. Maybe wait until September to start forming your opinions." Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Report: Junior Galette out for season with torn Achilles

Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin in war of words over 'disrespect'

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

A too early preview of UEFA World Cup 2018 qualifying

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker