Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/18/12
Mlb-brewers-cubs-june

Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made official Tuesday what most people expected, including John Axford.

Axford is being moved out of the closer's role and being replaced for the time being by Francisco Rodriguez.

The last straw came Monday night when Axford turned a 2-0 lead over the Cardinals into a 3-2 loss by allowing three ninth-inning runs on three hits and two walks. It was the sixth blown save of the season for Axford, who also suffered his sixth loss to go with a 5.35 ERA.

"We had a conversation with him today," said Roenicke. "Frankie's going to close right now. 'Ax,' we're going to put in where we think he's got a chance to get his rhythm back, his confidence back.

"I don't want to say what inning because there may be games it where it may be the eighth inning and the game's not on the line. So it could be the sixth, could be the seventh, could be the eighth, wherever it is where we think he can relax a little bit more and try to get it back.

"Confidence-wise, stuff-wise, if it's a mechanical issue, (pitching coach) Rick (Kranitz) and him will work on it. The fortunate thing is we have another closer."

That would be Rodriguez, once a record-setting closer who has served as Axford's setup man since being acquired at midseason in 2011. "K-Rod" has incentive to do well -- he needs eight saves to get to 300 for his career and possibly interest another club in using him as a closer in the future.

Roenicke said he knew it was time for a change after seeing Axford after the game Monday night.

"Last night, he was at a point where he was really frustrated," said Roenicke. "He said that was the worst he's felt on the mound as far as having a feeling where the ball is going, with a fastball or a breaking ball. He had no idea where it was going.

"Even in the outings this year where he wasn't really 'on,' he really has never felt that way. So it was the right time to do it."

The switch worked on the first night when Rodriguez protected a 3-2 lead against St. Louis, escaping a first-and-third, no-out jam to do so.

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