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Tony La Russa staying with Ryan Franklin as Cardinals’ closer despite three blown saves

Apr 11, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

ryan franklin posing

Ryan Franklin has blown three saves in four chances this season, allowing a total of four runs in 3.2 innings, but yesterday manager Tony La Russa made it clear that he’s sticking with the 38-year-old right-hander as the Cardinals’ closer:

I don’t see anything that’s changed between anybody that’s his competition. … Somebody’s got to come up with somebody that’s better on our club right now. The fact is that right now those young guys aren’t better.

Matthew Leach of MLB.com notes that two of the blown saves came in part because the defense didn’t make plays behind Franklin, but he’s allowed opponents to hit .353 with a .588 slugging percentage while already coughing up more leads than he did in all of 2010.

With that said, making sweeping changes based on what essentially boils down to 20 bad plate appearances rarely makes sense and Franklin had been an excellent reliever for St. Louis in each of the past four seasons. He deserves a chance to turn things around, but if not La Russa indirectly mentioned Miguel Batista, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte as potential alternatives. For the sake of Cardinals fans, let’s hope he wouldn’t actually hand ninth-inning duties to Batista.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 11, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    I wonder whether the Cardinals would rather have Matt Cain or a great closer right now….

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 11, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      I awesome Matt Cain unless LaRussa is even more leotarded than I thought.

      • thefalcon123 - Apr 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        Me word spell good grammer, yes? To rephrase, I *assume* Matt Cain unless Larussa is even more leotarded (term used to insult to physically fit instead of the mentally handicapped) than I thought.

      • cur68 - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        I kinda liked the first version better. Had a certain je ne sais quoi going for it.

    • paperlions - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      Matt Cain, not close.

  2. cliffleesbeard - Apr 11, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Weren’t the Cards fans saying how great this guy was 2 weeks ago on here? They jumped down a Reds fan’s throat cause he said this guy wouldn’t be good…. Hmmmm

    • spudchukar - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:01 PM

      Another study in how the memory only serves to feed our wishes. The comments were directed to CtiPhil who was castigating Franklin. Our concern with the Cards closer was echoed, but we defended him, particularly in comparison to the Reds closer Cordero. Of course, we are concerned again, with Franklin, but a couple of caveats should be mention. These were all 1 run saves, the toughest. The first blown save came after retiring the first two hitters, then giving up a solo shot, and quite a shot it was to Cameron Maybin. The second was aided by a poor turn on an inning ending DP, and the third on a drop on a deep fly ball by Colby Rasmus. So yeah, Franklin has definitely been shaky, but he has been placed in tough spots and given little help.

      • cintiphil - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        One more thing I almost forgot to mention here Spudman. Never, and I mean NEVER even use the name Franklin in the same sentence with Francisco Cordero, who has about 300 saves in a brilliant career, and who maybe at the end of it now, but certainly is better that (that other guy) in his worst year. Cordero will certainly reach 300 career saves if he can stay healthy this year.

        FINIS

    • cintiphil - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      Yes, that would be me. I TOLD REDBIRD FANS THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLOSER! Now do they believe? Franklin will blow 15 saves if given the opportunity, and it appears that TLR will do just that. And he blew 10-15 saves last year at least.

  3. astrozac - Apr 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Having/Being a closer is more mental than anything. A closer probably blows leads just a little less than the middle relievers and set up guys. Now if its Bruce Sutter pitching a three inning save…

    • cintiphil - Apr 11, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      Well, now wait a minute here. You keep bringing in legit. closers with Franklin. He is not a closer, and his record proves that. When you speak of closers like Sutter, Lee Smith, etc., you can’t compare them to (that other guy) for the birds. Otherwise, I do agree with you. When Hoffman was pitching well, he was almost unbeatable. That is a closer. The same thing goes with Rivera and many others, including the Reds Cordero. The problem here now, is that Francisco is getting older with some health issues, and not as reliable as he once was. He is still better than that other guy.

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