Macha confident that Hoffman can close again

Macha confident that Hoffman can close again

MILWAUKEE -- With the way Trevor Hoffman has been pitching lately, the possibility of the all-time saves leader closing for the Brewers again still exists, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

Hoffman's most recent outing entering Tuesday, a scoreless eighth inning during a 1-1 ballgame on Sunday in Colorado, earned him the decision in the Brewers' eventual 6-1 victory. It was Hoffman's fifth consecutive scoreless appearance.

Since he gave up three runs and took the loss on June 1 against the Marlins, Hoffman has allowed only three hits.

"After that outing, I'd feel pretty good about him coming in now," Macha said. "I thought the other day was his best outing. ... He certainly threw the ball well enough to close the game."

Macha was quick to point out that the decision was not an easy one to make, especially considering the criticism that would come along with replacing current closer John Axford, who began the series against the Twins a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities.

"It puts you out on the plank," Macha said. "But I think he's done real well, so let's just see. I've got that amongst the other pressures that are placed on me when I come to the ballpark every day."

As for whether he would remove Axford from the role, Macha said it would "work itself out."

At the same time, however, Macha recognizes what it would mean for Hoffman to get the four saves he needs to reach the 600-save mark.

"I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal," Macha said. "If that's getting 600, I'd like to get that done for him, or 610, or whatever he wants.

"He hasn't given up an earned run since June 1. The game was on the line the other day; we had a tie game with the heart of their order coming up. It's a good inning for him."