Game 16: Pitcher's Duel Ends in Walk-Off Loss

Chad Billingsley and Chris Carpenter went toe to toe for 7 innings working shutouts against opposing hitters. The Cardinals failed to muster any real offense outside of Matt Holliday's 3-for-3 day. Holliday would score the lone run in the 9th off of a David Freese bloop single to right field that accounted for the only non-Holliday hit for the day.

Chad Billingsley deserves a ton of credit for the effort today in which he struck out 11 batters over 8 innings allowing just two Cardinal hits.  Billingsley was denied the win by his offense but Jonathan Broxton would walk away with a 'W' despite allowing the Cardinals lone run.

The post-game calls for Ryan Franklin's right arm to be severed from his body seem misplaced. In 2008, Franklin blew 8 saves in arguably his worst year as a Cardinal reliever. He would follow that up with his best FIP season in 2009 (5 blown saves) and a 2010 campaign where he blew just 2 saves.  While Ryan Franklin is struggling right now, a home run to the Dodgers best hitter isn't definitive evidence that he's ineffective.

Tied into the torch and pitchfork affair are calls for Mitchell Boggs to take over the closer's role. As a fan of Boggs pure stuff, I'm hesitant to label him "closer" or "ace reliever" or whatever name is your preference. Boggs is only a couple years removed from failing to crack the rotation and wasn't statistically better than Ryan Franklin as a reliever last year. But Boggs is certainly pitching well at the moment and that seems to be creating some bias towards recent events.

On a day where the Cardinal at bats were particularly silent, Ryan Franklin picked an unfortunate moment to allow a HR. Is he finished as a reliever? I doubt it. Should he be a closer? I never particularly cared for him in that role. Should he lose the closer's job because of a rough start to the season? I'm just not sure that follows from the course of events we've seen thus far.  That doesn't make the blown saves any less aggravating but, personally, I'm not sure now is the time to pull the plug on Ryan Franklin: Closer.

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