(Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press)
Following John Axford’s uninspiring outing against the Rockies on Wednesday, Ron Roenicke said something we’ve heard some version of before – that for whatever reason closers do not perform well in non-save situations. I wondered how true that is, so I did a little research.
It probably wouldn’t be fair to compare Axford to guys like Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman. Axford has been his team’s closer for three seasons, so I think it makes sense to compare him to his peers: guys who have been in the closer role for two to four seasons. Looking at earned running average, opponent batting average, and walks/hits per inning pitched, here is what we find.
John Axford (Brewers)
2.80 / .200 / 1.19 Save
3.86 / .248 / 1.43 Non-Save
(Whoa. Axford is remarkably less effective, including a whole ‘nother earned run in non-save situations.)
Carlos Marmol (Cubs)
3.35 / .170 / 1.29 Save
2.73 / .176 / 1.23 Non-Save