Raise your hand if you are ready to get back to the midwest and east coast? *raises hand* While I did end up staying awake for these games, I was too exhausted to write the recap that night and with my busy-ness this week, it got put off and put off and then here we are at the end of the series. So we will recap everything in one, shall we?The bats kept it up in LA. Garcia earned his second win of the season with another solid start against the Dodgers. Pujols is now officially out of his slump and the top-5 in the Cardinals lineup is once again hitting. Franklin closed out the game in the ninth inning, but not before giving up a home run to Matt Kemp. I considered giving this game’s Hero of the Game to Pujols for his fifth inning home run, but Holliday had too great of a game, going 3-for-5, two runs, and 3 RBI. The Zero of the Game will end up with Skip Schumaker who went just 1-for-5 with 4 left of base. It was still a really tough call and considered giving it to nobody. Kyle Lohse pitched a brilliant game as the offense continued it’s historic attack. Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman went homer happy as each put up a two home run game. Berkman’s came in consecutive bats against the same pitcher, Jon Garland. That game’s hero was Lance Berkman with his 2-for-4, 2 HR performance. Albert Pujols was very deserving as well though, but I only give out one! As far as the zero, it goes to Skip Schumaker again. Skippy struggled again going 0-for-4 with 7 men left on base and one GIDP. And lastly, the Cardinals got their first real test against a fairly top flight pitcher in Clayton Kershaw and met it with excellent results. Though, when you look at the numbers against Kershaw, the Cardinals have typically hit him well. Holliday, Pujols, and Rasmus all hitting above .300 against him. Kyle McClellan turned in his best game for the team as a starter. He was in trouble twice and danced out of it with minimal damage, just the one run in the fourth inning. He also managed to go 7 innings before handing it over to the bullpen. Allen Craig was the power behind the night, hitting his first home run of the season off of Kershaw for three runs in the top of the fifth. The hero, of course, is Allen Craig. He went 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored, and three RBI. The zero, for once, may not exist. The only hitter worth getting it was McClellan and his pitching compensated for that pretty well. So no zero in this game, everyone’s a winner!
Once again, Carpenter throws a fantastic game. Once again, Franklin blows it. For the Cardinals, the only bright side to today’s game was that it was a getaway day and they’ll be back home on Tuesday against the Nationals. I know I’m excited about that. *yawn* Too many late nights. Maybe that will be one of the excuses LaRussa uses to defend Franklin from valid criticism? For fear of turning this into a Ryan Franklin post, it’s time to give someone else the closer’s job. Four blown saves in five opportunities so far this season. He hasn’t looked sharp and he’s been hit hard by everyone. Enough is enough. Tonight, Mitchell Boggs turned in a solid 8th inning in relief and he has looked good lately. The guy I would love to see is Fernando Salas or Eduardo Sanchez, Sanchez has quickly climbed to the top of the list of intriguing candidates, but there is no way Sanchez even sniffs the closer’s job on a Tony LaRussa ball club. So Boggs is our best option to save us. That said, I still don’t expect a change. If Franklin was a 22 year old, he’d already be packing his bags for Memphis because of his ineffectiveness. But Franklin is a 38 year old veteran and Tony loves his veterans. Tony will back up Franklin as his closer after the game, he will say that it was his fault for putting him a tough situation, and he will probably add that Franklin wasn’t sharp because he hasn’t been used lately. The problem: Franklin hasn’t been sharp all season, and the Cards have the best record in baseball if their closer closes the games like he should. Chris Carpenter turns in a stellar effort that was wasted. 7 innings, 5 hits, no walks, no runs. You HAVE to win those games if you want to be a playoff caliber team. While Holliday turned in a 3-for-3 day, it was David Freese coming through with the go-ahead single that scored Holliday in the top of the 9th to put the Cards on top with the first runs of the game, and setting it up for Franklin to be handed the ball. =&0=& Holliday’s 3-for-3 day seals it for him. Came across the plate for the game winning run. (3-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB) =&1=& Any doubt here? Ryan Franklin. (0.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER)