Boxberger takes closer shakeup in stride

D-backs going with committee approach for ninth inning

September 12th, 2018

DENVER -- D-backs right-hander Brad Boxberger was not caught off guard by manager Torey Lovullo's decision to remove him from the closer's role on Monday.
"It's definitely not surprising, the way I've been throwing and not finishing games out," Boxberger said on Tuesday before the D-backs continued their series with the Rockies at Coors Field. "Something has to change."
Boxberger is 0-3 and has allowed six earned runs in two innings this month.
Lovullo said he will finish off games based on which pitchers match up best with opposing hitters instead of having a designated closer.
"The added pressure of trying to be perfect out there definitely didn't help me at all," Boxberger said. "So I just have to go out there and do what I can to help the team win. It's tough. I mean, I know I'm better than the pitcher that I've been the last couple weeks, but, I mean, a lot of us down in that bullpen haven't had the best month in these last couple of weeks.
"It's just a stretch that we're going through, it stinks that we're going through it now in September with games running out, but we're still in it and there's still games to be won."
The D-backs made no secret of the fact that they built their roster prioritizing defense over offense, and as a result they have been involved in a lot of close games, which has meant a lot of high-leverage situations for the bullpen.
And for the most part, the relievers delivered, leading the National League in bullpen ERA. Recently, though, it's been a struggle.
"There's two ways to look at it. I think, one, we're asking a lot of our bullpen to come in and close one-run games every night and finish off one-run games every night, because you're susceptible to the one mistake," D-backs GM Mike Hazen said. "But on the flip side, in these situations, we need to close the door. That's what they're asked to do, that's what we're asked to do to win pennant games. It's gone on all year. We've dealt with this. The shape of our baseball games have been very consistent all year long. We've played in these environments all year and done a good job with them. We're in a little bit of a rut right now. We need to flip the script on that."