Help Wanted: Closer

by on July 25, 2008 · 6 comments

I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that sign hanging outside of Busch Stadium today.

I’m going to be brief, for fear that I will let loose an expletive-filled tirade about the Cards’ failure to finish games in this series, but there’s no doubt those four games were painful.

They hurt.

A four-game sweep at the hands of the team chasing (and now long past) you in the standings, three of which should have reasonably won.  Say the Cards only blow one of the games, they still come away with a split.

CC Sabathia was virtually unhittable, that one can be written off as just getting beat.

Ryan Franklin and the Cardinal bullpen on the other hand, have been very hittable.  Embarrassingly hittable.

Franklin in particular, since assuming the closer’s role, has a 5.46 ERA and hitters are putting up a very strong .986 OPS against him.  .986!  Sure, Jason Isringhausen was bad, and his ERA was much higher when he was put on the DL – but even he was keeping hitters to a .906 (I know, I know, that’s still bad).

Painful.  No words can really describe it.  That said, I can’t say that I didn’t expect it.  When Ryan Braun came to the plate, it was all too perfect.  It was going to happen again.

I’ll be away for the weekend – might not see any games – will keep track of scores, and hope for trade news.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Tony spins this one.  Is Franklin still your closer?  Does Isringhausen get reinstalled by default?  Is it time to let Chris Perez sink or swim?

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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StLCards July 25, 2008

One interesting thing was Tony’s pregame interview with Shannon. He actually put Carp’s timetable ahead of Wainwright’s and left it very much open that Wainwright might be best served out of the bullpen. He said since there is nothing to go by on this type of finger injury, he’d have to see how he responded, but was suggesting with the season running out in terms of building up arm strength, that Wainwright might be more valuable throwing 30 pitches out of the pen rather than spending much of the rest of the season trying to build up endurance. He left it with the usual comments you hear, that we’ll have to see where he is and what the team’s needs are when the time comes.

With this recent meltdown and the lack of a clear closer on the horizon (do we really want to get suckered by the A’s in a Street deal?) I think this one could become a reality. Could be they get Sherrill or someone not currently on the radar. I have some thoughts on trades, but will probably post them in the previous thread about the future redbirds.

Hopefully they put this fiasco behind them and Pujols steps up to be the team leader by setting an example with his hustle and his bat. I’d rather see Pujols with some fire in his eyes rather than disgust even after driving in a run with a sac fly. That is his job to drive in a run, and I suspect he is trying to do to much again. The Cards need to relax and remember how to have fun out there!

PHE July 25, 2008

Yup – seems everyone is pressing.

The latest idea du jour is that Carp and Waino will come back, allowing Looper to assume the closer’s role.

While I’m not opposed to it, I don’t think Looper will be much more successful. Impossible to say, really.

I still think Perez might be the best man for the job. He’s closed all his career, so he’s got the mindset – just let him go to work. Can’t be any worse than what they’re dealing with now.

StLCards July 25, 2008

I have to agree with Tony and Dunc on sending Perez back down. While I think he is certainly fit for the long term closer role, he doesn’t seem quite ready. He really was a one pitch pitcher while he was up. He would get ahead of the batter but couldn’t finish him off. He’ll learn how to do that with time and long term I think he’ll be able to take over for Izzy.

That’s part of the problem on who you sign now. If you do go trade for a Huston Street or George Sherrill then you are probably committing for more than just the rest of this season and then what do you do with Perez?

I’d still give him a shot this year if they don’t come up with something else, but I would wait until he has a few weeks in the minors and the taste of this awful series has lessened a bit.

PHE July 25, 2008

I don’t disagree that he was struggling – his slider still needs work, and he needs confidence throwing it.

That being said, I think there has to be a big mental difference between preparing for the 9th inning shutdown role like he’s been accustomed to, and pitching 2 innings in the 6th and 7th.

His fastball was always there, he just needs confidence in his control.

Ultimately, he wouldn’t be any worse in the closer role than Izzy or Franklin were, which was the argument that I was trying to make.

One way or another (and I’m not convinced that Sherrill is a closer either, but maybe just having a career year – he seems better suited to the LOOGY role), they need to add something to the bullpen to stem this tide.

StLCards July 25, 2008

I agree that something needs to be done, if not just to boost the confidence of the team that you (GM/Manager/Owner) recognize there are problems and are doing something about it.

Looking at the box score of the Cubs/Marlins games it appears that winning a 1 run game with the bullpen is possible afterall. Maybe the Marlins would trade Gregg? Not likely being only 1 game behind right now.

Sherrill would be an instant boon to the bullpen, no doubt they could use him, just at what price? I wonder if Mozeliak has the Jocketty mindset and will wait and get someone after the trade deadline. Definitely frustrating!

PHE July 27, 2008

Well, the Reyes trade hardly qualifies as motivating, eh?

I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll see the Cardinals become sellers before they are buyers, after the results of this week.

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