St. Louis Cardinals: Do They Have Another Option at Closer?

JUPITER, FL - MARCH 01: Manager Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals chats with the umpires against the Florida Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 1, 2011 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIApril 13, 2011

Over the weekend, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa gave a vote of confidence to closer Ryan Franklin. The beleaguered closer is off to a rough start and has a 9.82 ERA in four games.

According to MLB.com’s Matthew Leach, LaRussa said Franklin was still his closer. One of the reasons Franklin is still the closer is that TLR and the club do not believe that Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte, Miguel Batista or anyone else is a better option right now.

I call malarkey on that one.

I think they do have a better option in their pen. And that is Boggs.

Boggs is a 27-year-old, RHP, who is off to his best start in his four-year career. In six innings, Boggs has nine K’s and has allowed just three hits.

Take a look at what Boggs has done over the past four seasons….

Year ERA G SV IP R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
20087.418034.0292852213581.88211.11.35.83.4
20094.1916058.0282733346981.79311.00.55.17.1
20103.6161067.12927527521091.2928.00.73.67.0
20113.00406.0221291350.8334.51.53.013.5
4 Seasons4.57890165.188841484120891.5739.60.84.66.5
162 Game Avg.4.57580108585595578891.5739.60.84.66.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2011.

As you can see, Boggs has improved each year he has been in the major leagues and look what he is doing this season. Once again he has lowered his BB/9 rate and raised his K/9 rate. That’s what you want to see from your relievers.

More importantly for Boggs, he is fairing well against left-handed batters. Boggs has really struggled against lefties in the past, but through 10 plate appearances in 2011, lefties are only hitting .222 against him.

Yes, I know it’s a small sample size, but improvement is improvement.

It appears Boggs has figured things out. And when a guy who throws 93 mph has figured things out, then that’s a good thing.

Franklin is clearly at the end of his rope and Boggs is just starting with his. If Franklin continues to struggle, then TLR shouldn’t stick with him based on the fact that Boggs has never closed before.

Everyone deserves a shot to do something for the first time. That’s the only way someone is going to find out if they can cut the mustard.

Boggs should be given his shot.

 

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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