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Dodgers Web Musings: Was Jonathan Broxton's drop-off a mental issue?

The problem is not his arm, it’s his head. Jonathan Broxton's ability did not suddenly leave him, just his confidence to use that ability.

So says former Dodgers minor league manager Kevin Kennedy in his role as baseball commentator for Fox Sports.

Kennedy, pointing to his head, said: "He faulted because of what went on up here."


Also on the Web:

-- The Times' T.J. Simers writes that left-hander Clayton Kershaw is the Dodgers' biggest star, albeit in a limited team universe.

-- The Times' Dylan Hernandez says that despite the Dodgers’ offensive woes, hitting instructor Jeff Pentland is confident their offense won’t struggle as it did in the second half last season.

-- Forbes magazine has released its annual Major League Baseball team financial evaluations, and though the Dodgers’ value increased 10% to $800 million, kind words were hardly plentiful. Forbes says Frank and Jamie McCourt -- you know, the co-owners -- "had racked up a staggering $459 million in debt, much of which was used personally. Forbes estimates that almost all of the team’s profits were being used to pay down just the interest."

-- Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson looks at the recovery from a serious neck injury and the attempted comeback of Padres infielder David Newhan, son of The Times’ Hall of Fame baseball writer, Ross Newhan.

-- Baseball America treats the Dodgers better than most in its annual ranking of major league farm systems, picking them 11th. ESPN’s Keith Law previously ranked the Dodgers 22nd (Insider status required), and Baseball Prospectus had them at 18th.

-- Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says most Diamondbacks players are responding positively to their new, intense manager, Kirk Gibson.

-- The honeymoon phase continued: Sports Illustrated's Joe Lemire says Manny Ramirez is happy in Tampa and getting off to a positive start with coaches and teammates.

-- True Blue LA’s David Young takes a look at Broxton's comeback and is moderately confident.

-- LA Dodger Talk's Mark Timmons offers his best guess at the Dodgers' season-opening 25-man roster.

--'s Ken Gurnick writes that Jon Garland appears to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from a strained oblique and that it’s possible he won’t miss his start the first time he is expected to be needed, April 12.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (15)

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He's fat and a mental midget.

**Was Jonathan Broxton's drop-off a mental issue?**

His fastball is what dropped-off, it went from 99mph to 91mph! Any scrub player outside the Dodgers organization can hammer a 91mph fastball.

These guys have been hating on Dodgers Stadium:

Somebody is crazy...

An injury can be fixed, not having the guts to close can't.

What are Jonathan Broxton's problems? Pitching mechanics,overrated Joe Torre and the ability to remember Matt Stairs.

When you lose six miles off your fastball,there are three words to describe Broxton....Lack of confidence.

I hope all of you T.J. Simers haters out there approved of today's column on Kershaw, Tims/Tems, etc. See, if the player is good, T.J. will give him him props. If a player like Tim/Tems gets the joke and let's T.J. knows he's knows T.J.'s game, T.J. will also give him his due, as well. But if a player continues to play into his hand, T.J. will keep going after him, like he did to the jocular Kevin Brown. T.J. is the best thing going for what has become a pretty mediocre sports section -- a formerly first-rate sports section. Sorry if most of you don't agree. He's also tame compared to the columnists in NYC.
Here's hoping today's opening tweak on Eric Collins is just the beginning. Collins stinks and shouldn't be doing major league baseball games. Give 'em hell, T.J.

Agree with "nolan" up there. Unless Kennedy has explanation for loss of velocity on the old No. 1, Broxton more than lost the mental edge. And I agree he definitely lost that. But he lost the zip too.

Probably, there's some intertwine between losing your mental edge and some zip. But how much mph do you lose if you lose confidence? I dunno. Sure its measurable. Nearly 10 mph? I dunno. No clue who does know. Probably case to case.

Bottom line - he lost what made him valuable. Either he finds it or we find another closer. (And, here's to hoping we need a closer.)

Agree wholeheartedly. I'm not a chronic Broxton basher, by any means- he has tons of talent to go with his tons of mass. I was actually a big supporter of his until the '09 NLCS. But a lot of bloggers out there (you know who you are!) REFUSE to accept even the CHANCE that Broxton's breakdown was a mental issue, partly, IMO, out of fear that it would put them in the camp of Plashke and co., or even worse, be a de-facto admission that Mr. P might be onto something here.

Look, Broxton needs confidence. You get lucky and you get unlucky, and that game in Philly could have easily gone the other way. But Brian Wilson was in a nearly identical situation- almost uncannily so- in Game 6 of the NLCS last year in Philadelphia, and he froze Ryan Howard with a breaking ball to end the game and the series. He seemed to invite the challenge, where you could see Broxton was just battling. So for all the bloggers out their who scoff at the notion of "heart" and want tangible evidence, there's some right there.

Truth be told, I want him to bounce back, regardless of what the problem is. I'd just as soon not HAVE this debate in '11. Here's to hoping that Jonathan Broxton stops "fighting himself", as Joe Torre used to say, and finds his way for an entire season (and postseason).

Broxton lost faith in his fastball. He tried to place it too much...started having he started making love to his slider. Now he is afraid to challenge guys. Broxton is THE guy who should be sending it right down the heart of the plate and challenging guys to hit his heat. Instead, he pud-pulls with placement and his stupid slider. My freshman in high school baby brother is less afraid of chicks than Broxton is of his fastball. PATHETIC.

The fastball is straight. He once had movement. Get rid of him while you can get good return, Ned.

Great article! Confidence needs improving. He's slipping or somethings going on.

DUH! Why did it take all these so called sports writing "experts" to finally come up with this ONE!!!!!!!!!!!

me thinX not, for this would presume that broX-the-TON actually has a brain????!!!!!

Am I the only one who never thought much of the latest fatso on this otherwise gutless club? Few of his "saves" were ever easy. He never threw a strike on the first pitch, and he'd be lucky if he'd throw a strike on the second pitch, too. I used to bet my friends all the time that he'd walk the first batter he'd face, and I won 90% of the time.


I believe Broxton's problems to be 90% mental. All of it to do with memory, fear, and an over estimation of his own ability to locate. The other 10% is his weight. With all the injuries(and Bellesario's anual no show) to the pen and lack of depth in the rotation he got overused early. His lack of fitness added to his exhaustion but the mental aspect completely took over after the all-star game. He is good(sometimes great) when taking the catcher's sign and throwing it as hard as he can at the strike zone. He got tired and started throwing out of the zone early in counts and down the middle when ahead. After he gets rocked it would appear it is all he can think about. He can no longer pitch to the phillies period. He start taking speed of his fastball(which has been noted is rather straight to begin with) and that screwed up his delivery further. Control pitcher can be fine, sacrificing velocity for control. Power pitchers don't often have that ability to begin with so all they are doing is screwing up there mechanics and making it even harder to throw a strike. A couple of weeks removed from closing he went back to hurling called signs as hard as he could and with the fastball back up around 95-96 he had a pretty good couple of weeks. Can he still be a good closer? Yes, but i hope just good enough to be traded for someone with fewer mental problems.


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