Cardinals 4 vs. Cubs 11: Ryan Franklin and Jake Westbrook

Jake Westbrook: I am not especially excited about Jake Westbrook starts, at this point. I don't think he's done, seeing as he's continued doing the thing that makes him fundamentally Jake Westbrook; his groundball percentage is as high as it's ever been, and looking more like his half-season with the Cardinals in 2010 than his half-season with the Indians. But his peripherals, which are normally underwhelming, have taken the half-step to unpleasant. 

Of course, when I complain about Westbrook, I'm not really complaining about his peripherals, though the walk rate comes close to making an honest man out of me; I'm complaining about his BAbip. It's more frustrating for a groundball pitcher than it is for anybody else; he's supposed to be doing something about those balls in play, for goodness' sake. 

Ryan Franklin: I was hoping Ryan Franklin would turn things around in low leverage work, I really was; I've never rooted against a knuckleball pitcher, and I'm not about to start now. 

Relief pitcher seasons aren't just small sample sizes, they're weird—Franklin's pitched less than 20% of the innings he did in 2010, but he's allowed more than half as many earned runs. It's like if hitters could begin a season by going negative-fifteen for a hundred and wiping out all their value from last season in one bad stretch. Franklin's ERA since the start of 2010 is now 4.37; before this year his Cardinals career ERA was 3.04, now it's 3.30.

Arbitrary endpoints aside, Franklin's problems just aren't anymore the kind of problems that can be worked out on a Major League roster. If he's hurt, or "hurt," put him on the DL; a rehab stint might do a guy who's been crushed by Major League hitters some good. If he's not hurt, and he won't go to the minors, he just can't be used. There's only one spot on the Major League roster for a player who just sits off to the side all day, and Ryan Franklin isn't the backup catcher. (Though backup catcher/long reliever might just be my best idea ever.)

You've reached Viva El Birdos at the end of finals week; please use this thread until another one shows up at an arbitrary hour. 

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