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The ninth is dark and full of terrors: John Axford could close again, soon

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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John Axford, possibly still in the saves game (USAT Images)

For many of you, the act of cutting John Axford from your fantasy roster was probably the high point in your season. Very few events in fantasy are as satisfying as the vengeful drop. I get it. No argument.

Alas, if you're still chasing saves, it sounds like you're just going to have to pick up Axford again. His name remains in the ninth inning conversation for the Brewers, apparently.

This from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt:

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked Wednesday what it would take to re-install John Axford as his closer.

"Probably not much," replied Roenicke.

[...]

"That's nothing against [Jim] Henderson. He's done a great job for us pitching there. But I think with Ax, because of his breaking ball, and when he's throwing it well, I think he has a chance to repeat that season he had two years ago."

So it sounds as if Henderson doesn't have much of a leash — odd, because he's off to a fantastic start. Henderson currently ranks as a top-12 fantasy pitcher, thanks to his excellent ratios (0.90 ERA, 0.80 WHIP), his stellar K-rate (14 in 10.0 IP), and his 5-for-5 performance in save opportunities. He's done nothing wrong.

But Axford has pitched well over his last six appearances, earning four holds, allowing just two hits and no walks in 5.1 innings, striking out six batters. His ratios are still terrible, of course (9.35, 1.50), because the man was a fantasy plague in the opening week of the season. He deserved to be mass-dropped by mixed leaguers.

And now, it seems, he should be mass-added. If Henderson slips, Axford is clearly next in the hierarchy. (Sorry, you guys. I'm just the messenger.)

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