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Lovullo: D-backs abandoning traditional closer role

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger (31) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

After closer Brad Boxberger’s latest poor outings, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told media members in Colorado Monday he will no longer have a traditional closer and will instead focus on matchups.

In three of his last four appearances, Boxberger has picked up a loss. He allowed two earned runs in 0.1 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 2, one earned run in 0.2 innings to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday and another three earned runs in 0.1 innings versus Atlanta on Sunday.

In the last 13 D-backs games, Boxberger has made six appearances and has an ERA of 16.20.

Boxberger (32), Archie Bradley (3) and T.J. McFarland (1) are the only three D-backs pitchers with a save this season. The 30-year-old Boxberger has seven blown saves this season.

Boxberger and the D-backs bullpen as a whole were disastrous against Atlanta. In the four-game series, the unit gave up 14 runs in 14.1 innings.

While Yoshihisa Hirano has not allowed a run in the last 13 games, Bradley has an ERA of 16.88, Andrew Chafin sits at a 6.75 ERA and McFarland has a 6.00 ERA.

The poor performances from the bullpen have canceled out a terrific stretch by the Arizona rotation over that period of time. In those past 13 games, D-backs starters have a 2.27 ERA, the best in baseball and are one of only four teams with that number under 3.00. Over that same period, the D-backs bullpen has a 5.60 ERA, the fifth-worst mark in the majors.

Lovullo said after Sunday’s loss, in which the bullpen gave up the lead and six total runs in the ninth inning, that he doesn’t know what has caused the recent problems.

“I believe in that group, like I believe in that whole team and they’re gonna go out and get some really big outs for us down the stretch,” he said Sunday.

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

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