St. Louis Cardinals 5 vs. Atlanta Braves 6: Ryan Franklin again

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 01: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals has his left hand tended to by a trainer after taking a pitch off his knuckles in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Ryan Franklin shouldn't have pitched in the eighth inning and he definitely shouldn't have pitched in the ninth. Assuming he's your last man out of the pen, ready to stretch out should the game go deep into extras, there's no point in using him for one inning, and there's definitely no point in using him for a second inning while your high-leverage guys sit in the bullpen, swearing at Ryan Theriot

That said—as we've discussed in the gamethread, I don't think this game can be added as another charge in the case against Franklin. He got two groundouts, a flyout, and a pop-up just beyond the infield before allowing a broken-bat single to end the game, and that just doesn't look like the terrible Franklin we've seen so far; if it is Terrible Franklin it's a new model, slightly more usable, less likely to inadvertently dip his beard in beverages and ice cream. 

This shouldn't be construed as a defense of Franklin in high-leverage situations or a suggestion that he isn't, in fact, terrible; I just don't think this game can be used as additional evidence of his diminished abilities. 

As for David Freese, who has a fracture in his left hand—I don't know how much time he'll miss but it's definitely a problem, if also a more manageable one than it was last year. Daniel Descalso and Nick Punto appear to constitute an outstanding defensive platoon at the position, but offensively... well, they'll look a lot like Daniel Descalso and Nick Punto playing every day at a position where league average, last year, was .265/.331/.421. If Tony La Russa is up for a little Earl Weaver-style overmanagement I'd like to see Allen Craig spend some time there, shadowed at all times by a defensive replacement. 

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