Posted on: April 10, 2011 10:21 am

Cardinals need a closer first

Overall the Cardinals have several issues. Their offense has been lackluster, and if it wasn’t for the starting pitching, there is no way the Cardinals would be hanging around in most of their games so far this season. I will keep in mind it’s April, but the closer position is very ominous right now. Already Franklin has blown 3 saves with 2 against the Giants in the last two days, and one against San Diego on Opening Day. I will mention that Colby Rasmus drop the ball that caused the blown save, but keep this in mind that the ball was hit to the warning track and not an easy play. I’m not trying to defend Rasmus, but so far majority of Franklin’s outs seem to be deep pop outs.

I was at Opening Day and the first two outs were deep pop outs that were fortunately hit right at an outfielder. But if I’m a coach and I’m relying my closer getting majority of his outs as deep pop outs, I would be worried. On Friday he got his first two outs, and then struggled trying to get the third out. After last season, and seeing Franklin so far this season has made it evident he isn’t the answer to the closing position. Sadly besides his good campaign in 2009 in which he had 38 saves and an ERA of 1.92, he hasn’t been a spectacular reliever. If you look at his Seattle days, his lowest ERA was in 2001 with a 3.56. Otherwise his ERA floats in the 4s as his career ERA is a 4.04. And at the age of 38, he isn’t reliable to be a closer anymore. 

While the Cards may have offense problems, they are finding ways to get leads! Then Franklin has came and blown the lead 3 times already. As I said it is April, but if he was 8 years younger and had a better track record of closing I will be a little more lenient on him. But he is 38 with only 3 years as a closer under his belt, and that has been his career in St Louis from 2008-now. What kills me as a fan is the Cardinals seem to do this with the closer position more frequently. A few years ago the same thing happen Jason Isringhausen who cost us a lot of games during his final tenure in STL. They have no solution to fix it. The Cardinals solution to Franklin is Motte who has one pitch, a fastball down the middle. What a joke! As fans we can complain about the lack of offense production, but keep in mind Holliday is due back soon. But if our bullpen can’t close a game, then it doesn’t matter if we have the lead as our lovely pitching staff to close the game. Teams that lack offense, but did well with pitching is San Diego. Heath Bell can close games and keep that win for the Padres which is why they finish second last year. I believe The Cardinals have the talent to make a run to the postseason, but as long as the closer position is a black hole of blown saves, then the Cardinals season is doom. 
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