The Cardinals’ 38 year old incumbent closer said to the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold that he intends to return to his late-inning role.
Franklin has been the Cardinals closer for the last three years, earning 82 saves from 2008 to 2010. His best year was 2009 where he saved 38 games and carried a sub-1 ERA well into the summer before wrapping up the season with a 1.92 ERA.
Then began the nightmare of 2011 for him. His season kicked off with a blown save against San Diego in the season opener. He managed to pull in the save in his next appearance against Pittsburgh, but blew saves in his next two appearances. On April 17th, after a home run by Matt Kemp to seal the Dodgers’ walk-off victory, Franklin sat with 4 blown saves in 5 opportunities and a 11.57 ERA. The struggles had sealed his fate, the team was going to decide to use a bullpen by committee to determine a closer to replace Franklin.
Since then, the closers role has been manned by Mitchell Boggs, Eduardo Sanchez, and most recently Fernando Salas. Those three pitchers have been 17 for 20 in save opportunites, and the current guy who just happens to pitch in the 9th inning, Fernando Salas, is a perfect 9 for 9.
In 5 appearances in the month of May, interestingly enough all on the road, Franklin has a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings over 5 games. Despite getting tagged for four runs in Wrigley Field, Franklin has turned in a solid month for a mop up closer. However, his last 3.2 innings have been scoreless as he’s allowed just two base runners. Is Franklin getting his groove back? Continue reading