Franklin wants his old job back

Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez, be forewarned: Ryan Franklin wants his old job back.

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

Boggs’ treatment confuses me

As a Cardinals fan, blogger, and generally a studier of the habits of the management and organization, I consider myself fairly well read on the topic of what the team is going to do and the motives behind why they do it.

When Mitchell Boggs was optioned to Memphis, the move made sense to me. I defended it as the proper decision in a blog post that day.

However, now I just don’t know what’s going on.

I figured Boggs would head to Memphis, spend a couple weeks working on his stuff in relief while serving out of the Redbirds bullpen, maybe even closing out games for them. He’d be there until a roster spot opened up in St. Louis due to injury, trade, or the release of a player.

Then comes news during Boggs’ first appearance. He was going to start the game while the game’s scheduled starter would come in after Boggs was done. Okay. I thought. Just getting Boggs his time on the mound early in the game.

Then comes three days later and he gets the start against Omaha. This time he threw 4 innings. He allowed 3 hits and 1 walk along with 4 strikeouts. The general perception is that the Cardinals are looking to turn Boggs back into a starter and the extended appearance in Memphis is proof to that. But why? Continue reading

River Bandits at Busch

Praying all day that the weather would hold out for the River Bandits vs Cougars game tonight at Busch I was watching the weather every hour at work today! Got to the ball park tonight 30 mins before game time and enjoyed the very long concession lines…but at least all food and drink was half off. Now lets get to the game notes!

I watch from afar as Carlos Martinez warmed up in the pen prior to the game. Couldn’t tell much but I was quite excited to see one of the best prospects in our system. Finally the national anthem and then the River Bandits took the field. You could tell Martinez was a little jazzed up as he warmed up but held his composure quite well. As the game started and Martinez threw his first few pitches you could tell his FB was humming (the stadium radar gun was not clocking). His motion was a little whippy and he fell off to the first base side. I saw plenty of FB’s with an occasional CB thrown in the mix. His FB doesn’t has as much movement as I thought it would and he was actually quite hittable which was a big surprise to me. He had a few dynamite CB’s that either froze hitters or made a few look flat out silly. I would say it was a plus pitch tonight. I didn’t see too many CH so didn’t get a read on it. Overall you can see the immense potential and the raw tools he brought to the table…but at the same time he is definitely years away from the majors. Check out the amateur videos I posted on YouTube below (be nice as I was trying to do the best I could to keep my Droid still as I shot the video!). I also have a few pictures on Flickr with links below. Continue reading

Series Notes @ San Diego

I know, one more game to go but with the events of the last two nights, I couldn’t wait any longer! While the Cardinals offense has not been prolific over the last two nights in San Diego, it’s gotten the job done and that’s the important part.

  • Albert Pujols ended his homerless streak on Monday night with his first home run in a streak that lasted 27 games, 105 at bats, or 120 plate appearances. However you look at it, that’s long for Mr. Pujols. The longest previous such streak was 22 games back in 2007, as I’ve mentioned before. As far as I can tell, I was one of the first to mention the historic place of his power slump. Does this mean he’s about to break out and go bonkers on the majors? Cardinals fans can only hope. With Matt Holliday expected to miss a little more time with his current injury, the offense needs Pujols now more than ever. If Albert wants to work his way back into the good graces of the fans, there is no better time.
  • Kyle Lohse won his sixth game of the season on Monday night to tie teammate Kyle McClellan for the league lead at 6 wins. Lohse also leads the entire major leagues with a 0.901 WHIP. Those who know a little about WHIP can understand that this is a phenomenal feat. To have a WHIP, even after just 10 starts, of less than 1 is amazing. Lohse’s pin point command has been the key to his success this year and he is answering all the questions about the Cardinals’ season resting on his shoulders. He’s gone from perhaps the least favorite member of the rotation to one of the most necessary. Continue reading

Cox promoted to Springfield

The Cards top pick from the 2010 MLB Draft, Zack Cox, was promoted from Palm Beach (High A) to Springfield (AA) today. In a corresponding move Niko Vasquez (2008 3rd Rdr) was demoted to Palm Beach.

This move shouldn’t come as any big surprise as we signed Cox to a ML deal with a reported $3.2M deal last August at the signing deadline. He was considered the most advanced hitter in the class that should be able to move quickly. The concerns with Cox is will he hit for enough power and will he play adequately at 3B. Early on in the year he was purely a singles hitter which was concerning for some people…not I. Pretty much his first exposure to professional baseball and he was put at High A in a pitcher friendly league. It takes time to adjust. Within the past few weeks he has shown he is getting comfortable and started hitting more doubles and a few HR’s. As of today he is hitting .325 AVG, 8 Doubles, 3 HR, .380 OBP and .819 OPS. Not bad for being in a pitcher friendly league. His defense has been at least adequate at 3B so there shouldn’t be any concerns there.

With Springfield being more hitter friendly we should certainly see him hit for more power once he gets accustom to the big jump to AA. To me this is the biggest jump in the minors so be patient and let him get his feet wet. But there is no reason he shouldn’t hit hit hit and hit some more!

With a solid showing in AA the rest of the year it should set the stage for him to put himself into consideration for the 3B job in ST 2012. Should be interesting with a healthy David Freese, Cards MiLB Hitting MVP Matt Carpenter and Cox next year in ST.

Congrats to Zack Cox!

Schumaker back from the DL

Skip Schumaker will return tonight from his month long trip on the disabled list. The question facing the team is who makes a road trip to Memphis.

I can already hear the cries for Ryan Franklin to be finding a new home, but the team is standing behind him and I understand that. Ryan Franklin has been more or less effective during his entire time in St. Louis, save the last couple months (get it, save. Oh, I crack myself up). You have to assume that he’s going to turn it around at some point, just like people are saying about one Mr. Albert Pujols. Why release someone that might be a weapon later in the season? You don’t want to make that assumption just yet.

The rumors are saying it will be Mitchell Boggs.

Boggs, 27, is having, on average, a better year than last year. So why is he looking at a trip to Memphis?

What it comes down to is minor league options. The team doesn’t want to pay Ryan Franklin to play for another team, so who can you send to Memphis. The players in the bullpen with options remaining, as best I can figure it, are Boggs, Jason Motte, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez. Continue reading