Jonathan Broxton threw well after being acquired in the second half of the 2015 season, as he garnered a 2.66 ERA while wearing a Cardinals uniform. However, he wasn't able to maintain that level of performance in 2016. Yet again, the long ball got the best of Broxton, who allowed more than one home run per nine innings (1.04 HR/9) for the second year in a row. His control continues to decline, with his walk rate increasing for the third consecutive season. Despite his subpar play, Broxton finished third on the Cardinals in appearances. Heading into the final year of his contract, Broxton will likely be a regular coming out of the St. Louis bullpen, but may see fewer high-leverage opportunities.
Broxton failed to record an out in the ninth inning in Sunday's 6-4 win over the Brewers, giving up two hits and two earned runs. Charged with protecting a relatively comfortable 6-2 lead, the right-hander got matters off on the wrong foot by surrendering a solo home run to Manny Pina and an infield single to Keon Broxton. That was enough to bring on Seung Hwan Oh, who yielded a single to Jonathan Villar that placed another run on Broxton's ledger, though he ultimately closed it out. The veteran reliever had put together three straight scoreless outings following a pair of rough appearances against the Reds and Nationals, so Sunday's outcome represented a setback. Broxton now has an 11.12 ERA and 2.47 WHIP along with an unsightly 5:6 K:BB over his first 5.2 innings.
Broxton pitched a scoreless inning in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees, surrendering one hit and uncorking a wild pitch while recording two strikeouts. The veteran right-hander worked around a single to Brett Gardner and a wild pitch that advanced him to second, disposing of Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter on swinging strikeouts to close out the frame. It was a nice bounce-back performance for Broxton, who'd surrendered five earned runs over 1.2 innings across his previous two trips to the mound. While his ERA still sits at 12.27, perhaps Saturday's outing could be the start of a turnaround.
Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Cubs but issued two walks. Broxton enjoyed a solid spring where he posted an excellent 1.64 ERA over 11 innings, and he got the regular season off to a strong start Tuesday. Although he issued free passes to Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber -- the latter was an intentional walk -- he got through the frame on just 12 pitches. The veteran reliever will look to add to his streak of five consecutive seasons with double-digit holds in 2017.
Broxton was credited with his first hold in Tuesday's 9-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Marlins, pitching a clean fourth inning and recording a strikeout. The veteran reliever kept his spring record unblemished in terms of ERA, as he's yet to surrender a run over the four innings spanning his four appearances. Broxton has also notched a trio of whiffs over that span and allowed just a .154 average. The 32-year-old right-hander is expected to enjoy a robust bullpen role once again in 2017 after pitching over 60 innings in each of the last two campaigns.
Broxton, who's slated to once again be a prominent part of the Cardinals bullpen in 2017, will look to significantly improve his performance at Busch Stadium, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. The 32-year-old righty's home/road splits last season were rather alarming, as Broxton amassed a 6.83 ERA, 3.72 BB/9, 1.48 WHIP and .338 wOBA over 29.0 innings at Busch Stadium. In contrast, he generated a 1.99 ERA and .181 BAA across 31.2 road frames, which kept him as a reasonably effective option overall, but one that the Cardinals hope can provide much steadier results across the board in the coming campaign. Broxton was durable last season despite the aforementioned home struggles, firing over 60 innings for the second straight year in the middle relief role he'll reprise in 2017.
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