The Colorado Rockies signed veteran LaTroy Hawkins to be their closer this off-season. The move seemed puzzling at the time, as Rex Brothers appeared to have earned that gig with his performance last season.
Given Rex’s struggles so far this season, maybe we should wonder if the team knew something we did not when they made that move? Or maybe we should wonder if Rex is struggling to get right mentally because of his changing roles in the last couple seasons, though that kind of speculation is rarely useful.
None of these threads will matter much if Brothers turns things around. And while his recent outings have been ugly, both with the walk-off home run he surrendered Sunday against the Giants and the utter disaster that was his appearance Monday night in San Diego, a quick turnaround is still entirely possible.
For his part Brothers says he will be fine (quotes from the Denver Post):
That one in San Francisco meant a lot, because we had battled so hard to get back in that game. And then to have to have it happen again (Monday) night, to have a win slip through my fingers two days in a row, is tough. I can’t say that’s happened before. But I came in today with a clear mind. I’m in a good place. I really am…
I have some work to do, no doubt about it. In 2012, I started out pretty slow and it ended up blowing up in my face. But I’m in a better state than I was back then. It’s about finding consistency again. Right now, the highs are too high and the lows are way too low. I have work to do, but I’m going to get it done, I promise you that.”
The good news for the Rockies is that Brothers’s issues seem correctable. As I noted in my player preview of Brothers before the season, and as Bryan Kilpatrick broke down on Purple Row yesterday, Brothers loses hold of his fastball command from time to time with his delivery. That can be fixed, and the team will happily address that issue rather than something like a decline in velocity or some other falloff in his effectiveness.
After all, it’s not like he got hit hard by the Padres Monday night; they scored two runs without a single hit in that fateful 8th inning.
Rex Brothers says Rex Brothers will be fine, and unless these red flags truly persist or transform into those of a more concerning sort, we should probably believe him. He is young and his stuff is nasty and so this early glitch will (hopefully) be nothing more than that.