Trevor Hoffman is a mess so who took advantage of a chance to save a game Sunday for the reeling Brewers? None other than former Canisius College pitcher John Axford (59 at left). The right-hander got his second big-league save and first of the season, striking out Twins superstar Justin Morneau in a battle of Canadians along the way.
Axford is a Simcoe, Ont., native and a 2006 Griff who was profiled in an Inside Baseball column last September as the first Canisius player in the big leagues since 1899. He had no decisions and one save with a 3.52 ERA in seven games for the Brewers last year. In 12 outings at Nashville this year, Axford was 3-2, 2.03 with two saves. He was called up to the Brewers May 15 and has a 3.00 ERA in six appearances.
Axford was the last of five Milwaukee pitchers used in Sunday's 4-3 win at Target Field. Hoffman pitched in a setup role, posting his first hold since 1994.
The Brewers are one of the goofiest teams in the big leagues. Their pitching has been a disaster and that's largely why they're 4-14 at home, the worst record in the bigs. Their 13-13 road mark is the only reason they're even remotely on the map, and manager Ken Macha seems to be on a day-to-day death watch.
Macha has been an Axford booster so his status bears watching. If he gets fired, you never know how a new skipper (likely bench coach and former Mets manager Willie Randolph) might shuffle the deck in the bullpen.
AP Photo: Axford celebrates with catcher George Kotteras after Sunday's final out.