Monday, April 18, 2011

Closing Time

The jinx is not dead apparently. No sooner do I post something talking about the Cards' improved performance in the last week and that they are in line to sweep the 4 game set with the Dodgers - winning their 5th game in the process, when Ryan Franklin comes in and fails to convert yet another save chance.

After an epic battle between starters Chris Carpenter and the Dodgers Chad Billingsley, Terver Miller took to the mound to start the 9th inning. His job was to retire lefty hitter Andre Ethier, and would then give way to closer Franklin to finish off the sweep. Miller did not get the job done, and Franklin servered up the walk off to the red hot Matt Kemp.

And with that, the closer carousel will very likely spin. The odds-on favorite seems to be Mitchell Boggs, who has been off to a great start this season. Jason Motte is another popular choice, although he has had his own issues early in 2011.

Personally, I feel for Franklin. I want him replaced, but you have recognize the contributions he's made to the Cardinals for the last few years. He stepped up early on in 2009 when Jason Motte tried and failed to take on the role of closer. It is not an easy job. Franklin -- a less-than-successful starter in his career -- seemed an odd choice, and while he doesn't have classic closer stuff, you have to recognize that he's been effective in the role...even appearing as an All Star. He's kept the seat warm while the "young 'uns" developed, but the writing's on the wall now. If TLR opts for loyalty over the stark reality that Franklin might need to return to a setup role, then the crowds at Busch Stadium during the upcoming homestand may hunt him down in a scene that could be eerily reminiscent of the original Frankenstein movie.

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