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Ryan Franklin has probably lost his job as Cardinals’ closer

Apr 18, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

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The Cardinals have a day off today so Tony La Russa has some extra time to think about it, but it seems pretty clear that Ryan Franklin‘s time as the Cardinals’ closer is over.

Or hell, maybe it ended yesterday and we just didn’t notice it. I mean, in a 1-0 game in the ninth inning, La Russa went to Trever Miller first, who gave up that double to Andre Ethier. Only then did he summon Franklin. I don’t pretend to understand what La Russa does with his bullpen, so it’s hard to say if that, in and of itself, meant anything, but it’s pretty academic now. The closer is the big subject in St. Louis, even if La Russa would rather not talk about it:

Manager Tony La Russa attempted to deflect questions about the topic afterward. “What about the offense?” he said. “We only got two runners to second base against their starter. It’s not all about the closer.”

That might have worked better if he hadn’t berated the media the last time they tried to ask him about the offense.

In any event, Bernie Miklasz has all of the brutal detail about why Franklin has to go. And I can’t say I disagree with any of it. You don’t overreact to a blown save. Or even two.  But when you have a 6-4 road trip and three of those losses came when you held the lead at some point in the ninth inning, well, that’s all she wrote.

Bernie thinks the job should go to Mitchell Boggs.  Others are lobbying for Eduardo Sanchez, though it seems hard to picture La Russa going with a guy who has two major league appearances under his belt. Whoever the best candidate is, something has to be done.

  1. BC - Apr 18, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    Look at the picture. You can see what the problem is. He trimmed his beard. No more fear in the beard.

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      Looks lopsided. Maybe they were laughing at him?

  2. cintiphil - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Well too bad for us.TLR finally woke up. Where are you redbird fans now that he is o for 4? He has no saves that I know of and has blown 4! The problem for the Cardinals is that they should have done this at the end of last year. they have no prospect for a closer that I know of because they thought this guy was the answer. Really? Maybe next year.

    • umrguy42 - Apr 18, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      Phil, IIRC, he had two blown saves all of last year. Not exactly a reason to ditch the man at that point. Four blown saves early in the season, however.. yes, time for a change.

      • cintiphil - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        This guy blew 4 or 5 saves in September last year. How did he get his wins last year? He blew the save and the birds came back to win in the bottom of the inning. I think he was failing later in the season, but I do not follow them that closely. I think he had about 60 appearances with about 25-30 saves. What happened to the rest of the games? He didn’t blow them all, but certainly had poor performances for a lot of games. I have no vote and don’t really care, but TLR should have been thinking of getting a closer in October 2010 for 2011.

      • spudchukar - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        Redleg Phillip, we went through this once before, is it selective memory loss? If you blow a save and then go on to win, you get credit for both. The distance between what you want to believe and what really happens continues to widen. Again, they have these things called stats, that is short for statistics, and there are a number of sites like Baseball-Reference.com where for just a few minutes of your time you can check to see what really occurred. Trust me it will save you the embarrassment of always being wrong.

    • flapjack3285 - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      You’re thinking of 2009 when he had 3 blown saves and a 7.56 ERA. Last year, he didn’t blow a save in September and had 3.09 ERA. He does have one save this year, but it’s pretty obvious that you don’t want to take 2 minutes to look anything up ;)

      • cintiphil - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:51 AM

        No, I am thinking 2010. He stunk up the place in August and Sept. And, one can not get credit for a save when he blows it in the top of inning and in the bottom of the inning, his team gets a win. He may get credit for the win, but he blew the save and this can not be a save for him. He saved nothing for the starter or set up guy. HE BLEW IT.

  3. paperlions - Apr 18, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Craig, LaRussa started with Miller for the lefty-lefty matchup….the only thing LaRussa likes more than old guys in the bullpen is multiple lefties so he can keep on making switches.
    .
    Sanchez should be the guy, but Boggs would be my second choice.

    • cur68 - Apr 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      ‘lions; you’ve said it before, talent bails out poor managing. Following this logic I can see why you’d think Sanchez not having experience should not be a factor. Let the players play, that’s what you wrote and it looks like you’d stick with that. After all, how bad could it be to let a guy with 2 major league appearances be your closer?

      For my part, I think Boggs is your boy. He looks pretty good so far and at least you’d know what you were getting. Sanchez, I think, should spend some time (maybe a month more) pitching out of the pen till you can see how good his stuff is. With the power on that team keeping them in it they can afford to give him a chance to come along, at least for a month.

  4. spudchukar - Apr 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Look, as a Cards fan, the recent failures of Franklin are troubling to say the least. Nothing is more devastating to a team than walk-off losses, especially when a team has been playing as well as the Cards have been this past week. Maybe it is time to resort to the proverbial “bullpen by committee”. Neither Motte, nor Boggs inspires any more confidence than Franklin, thus the dilemma. Maybe Sanchez is the answer, but his sample size of success is so small, choosing him is beyond desperate.

    As I have stated before, I am not a big Franklin fan, but he has done a pretty good job the past 3 years, and it isn’t like LaRussa has an obvious choice as a replacement. While no one can ignore Franklin’s failures this year, some facts should be mentioned as caveats. First, every one of his 4 failed saves were 1 run opportunities, the toughest of saves. In his first two ‘blows” he retired the first two hitters. His third one should have been avoided cause Rasmus dropped a deep fly ball, but to be fair he got himself into trouble and the flub was on a well-hit ball. His last attempt came when he came in with the tying run on second and no one out facing Matt Kemp the MLB’s hottest early season hitter.

    I’m just not ready to give up on Franklin, knowing our options. If we go to Boggs, Motte, or Sanchez then does Franklin return to the set-up role where he has excelled? Does he then fail in the 8th rather than the 9th? Knowing neither Boggs nor Motte are hardly consistent and not exactly going to outsmart any hitters, I say let’s share the closing duties between Sanchez and Franklin for a while, give Frankie a couple of easier opportunities saving Sanchez for the tough ones and as an old photographer fan once uttered “let’s see what develops.”

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