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

WATCH: Bubba Watson's caddie owns heckler at PGA Championship

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

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

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

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

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

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