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Finding just a little Dodgers love for Jonathan Broxton

October 09, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Cincinnati's Jonathan Broxton pitches during Game 1 of the Reds' National League division series against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
Cincinnati's Jonathan Broxton pitches during Game 1 of the Reds'… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)

What's your sympathy quotient today? Filled to capacity, or are you only feeling a tad empathetic? Or at least, forgiving?

Jonathan Broxton is not exactly beloved to most Dodgers’ fans. He is forever the guy who melted down twice to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series. The guy who always appeared overweight, almost distracted and somewhere on the other side of Lord Byron in the passion department.

Broxton deserves a better retrospective. Not that he should go down in the pantheon of great Dodgers closers, but neither does he deserve the kind of scorn normally reserved for someone wearing a Giants uniform.

You wouldn’t judge the career of Willie Davis on the basis of one historically bad inning in the 1966 World Series. You wouldn’t judge Brando on “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

But to many, Broxton means Matt Stairs. He means unfilled potential, a failure to step up in the big moments.

Which is not completely fair, and Broxton indicated to The Times’ Dylan Hernandez that that view bothers him, which is completely understandable.

"I'm not getting into that," Broxton told Hernandez. And really, why should he? He would come off as defensive and whiny.

He’s had a nice comeback year this season from elbow surgery, first with the Royals and now the Reds. On the year, he had a 2.48 ERA and was successful on 27 of 33 saves. Now he’s the setup man for the Reds, still pitching in the former Broxton black hole, the playoffs.

Maybe too many have forgotten he was a minor sensation when he first arrived with the Dodgers in 2005 as a hard-throwing, 21-year-old right-hander. In his first five seasons, he went 19-12 with 55 saves, a 2.92 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Fans were loving him then, not sharpening the blades.

"I don't lose sleep over it," he told Hernandez.

He saved 84 games in his seven seasons for the Dodgers, plus three more in the postseason. If you can’t offer up some small applause for that, at least cool it with the venom.

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