Here’s a quick video of Tony La Russa and Matt Holliday talking it out after last night’s game…
Matt Holliday made one of the more memorable plays in recent history last night in the Cardinal’s last inning loss to the Dodgers. In a play more fitting for America’s Funniest Home Videos than Baseball Tonight, Holliday got hit in the balls, fell over, and then chomped on sunflower seeds while getting harassed by America’s prettiest in SoCal. It was as if the opposing team’s Leftfielder was channeling Holliday from the bench. To put it bluntly, Matt Holliday pulled a Manny.
Moving on, I realize that Holliday’s catch would have ended the game. It would have been a one, two, three inning, and Cardinals fans would have gone and listened to books on tape read by Jack Buck, and wandered off to dreams of Mark McGwire hitting dingers into Big Mac Land (or whatever it is Cards fans do after victories… Budweiser?). But, in his defense, Ryan Franklin still has to close this game out. Lets take a look at Franklin’s line:
R. Franklin 0.1 IP, 2H, 2R, 0ER, 2BB, 0SO, 0.00 ERA L, BSv
James Loney would have been Franklin’s second out in his appearance. You are telling me a closer can’t get three outs for a save? The problem I have with Ryan Franklin is that he doesn’t have overpowering stuff. He had a WHIP of 1.20 for the season (meaning he gave up 1.2 walks or hits per inning he pitched, meaning, basically, he allowed at least a base runner in every appearance he made.).
A good closer has to be nearer to 1. Also, with a WHIP of 1.2, Franklin is used to pitching with a runner on base. He did not have anything to put away Casey Blake in a long battle that ended with a walk of Blake. He then sacrificed the game tying single to Ronnie “Belisario” Belliard. Then, the one that really throws me for a loop, he walked Russell Martin on four pitches, none of which, made Martin even contemplate swinging.
Once Manny and Ethier were out, this was not the heart of the Dodger lineup. One must question Tony La Russa’s taking out of Adam Wainwright as well. Wainwright had thrown 109 pitches, but he had allowed only 3 hits. Wainwright did run into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the 8th, but it ended without anyone hitting anything too hard off of him.
A closer has to have the ability to get a strikeout. Unless you are a popup producing machine, you need to be able to get a K to limit damage with runners on. Franklin struck out 44 guys in 61 innings this season. For some perspective (Mo, 72K- 66IP, Pap, 76-68, Hoff, 48-54, and Broxton, 114-76). My esteemed colleague picked him as closer of the year in the NL. WHIP is why I disagreed.
I am not placing the blame squarely on Franklin, but he is due a fair share, and I am sure he is kicking himself as much as Holliday is today. You want to spread it around some more?
Here we go, nobody out in the 7th, Mark DeRosa singles, Colby Rasmus follows him with a double that scores DeRosa, but is thrown out at third. Cardinals take the lead, but the rally is dead. Could have been a big inning, instead of runner on third nobody out, it is nobody on, one out.
Here is another fun fact, the Cardinals scored two runs in this game. The second was on the double by Rasmus. The first run was on a homerun by none other than public enemy #1 in St. Louis right now, Matt Holliday. How soon we forget.
There is no worse feeling for a baseball player than making an error, and just waiting in the field to see if it will result in runs. A closer has to have the balls to pick up his teammates. Holliday screwed up, but this loss was a team effort, just as the win was a team effort for the Dodgers.