John Axford Getting The Job Done In The Closer’s Role For The Colorado Rockies


After being designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates back on October 25, 2014, John Axford didn’t know where he would end up next. Luckily for the Colorado Rockies, they took a gamble on the closer who recorded 46 saves back in 2011 and it is paying dividends.

Axford, now 32, was one of the more dominant closer’s in the game when he was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. During the 2011 season, Axford posted 46 saves in 48 opportunities — 95.8%. Not to mention, he posted a 1.95 ERA during that season, going on to win the Reliever of the Year Award.

Fast-forward to the 2013 season, Axford was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Pittsburgh Pirates in hopes of bolstering their bullpen for the playoff run — that didn’t happen. Pittsburgh ended up designating Axford for assignment as he gave up five runs over 11.0 innings pitched.

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Looking for bullpen and pitching help, the Colorado Rockies sent a flyer out on Axford, taking a gamble on the veteran reliever. Colorado agreed to terms with Axford on March 1, 2015, signing him to a minor-league contract which immediately placed Axford on the Major League roster. Little did Colorado know what they were going to get out of him.

With the sad news of Adam Ottavino needing to undergo Tommy John Surgery, Colorado placed Axford back into a role he was quite familiar with — being the closer.

In nine appearances with the Rockies this season, Axford has yielded just one earned run over eight innings of work. The closer helped Colorado cap a 6-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night, converting his fifth save of the season. Axford is now a perfect 5-for-5 on save opportunities and the season is still young.

Over those nine innings of relief, Axford has held hitters to a .192 average. Lefties have fared pretty well of the veteran reliever, slashing at a line of .364/.364/.500 with four hits in 11 at-bats — all singles. Righties on the other hand have struggled mightily, mustering just one hit in 15 at-bats; good for a slash line of .067/.067/.125.

One amazing stat that has gone unnoticed about Axford’s pitching this season is that he has yet to give up an extra-base hit. All five hits against him have been singles (hopefully I didn’t jinx him).

Axford has dealt with his fair share of adversity this season as well with the rattlesnake incident regarding his son, Jameson. His two-year-old was bitten on the foot twice by a rattlesnake during Spring Training, leading to undergo extensive treatment to save the child’s foot. Thankfully, everything has been going according to plan with Jameson and his treatments.

The Rockies found a diamond in the rough with Axford, no doubt. It’s nice to see some consistency and stability in the back-end of the bullpen.