Ryan Franklin vs. Matt Holliday: Playing the Blame Game
Who was really at fault for the Cardinals ninth-inning, two-out implosion Thursday night? Was it Matt Holliday, the man who shall now be known forevermore as Ol' Three Ball Holly, or Ryan Franklin, the Cardinals' budget-conscious, Dave Duncan reclamation project version of Brad Lidge?
It's an interesting query, of course, and one I think most fans are still making their minds up on. On the one hand, you have the Cards' big midseason acquisition, Matt Holliday, the dude who everyone was clamouring for the Cardinals to pony up and pay $100 million dollars just a couple weeks ago. Holliday who cost the Cards Brett Wallace. Holliday who was, in essence, the avatar of the 2009 team. We like to think of Albert Pujols or Chris Carpenter as the leaders of this team, maybe Adam Wainwright as well. But if you want the guy who really sums up what this team is about, look no further than the player the Cardinals essentially gutted their farm system to acquire. (Or if not gutted, at least gave a pretty decent knifing to.)
On the other hand, of course, you have Ryan Franklin, the guy with the job he was never supposed to have, and never felt comfortable doing last year because Jason Isringhausen was still around and he felt like he was looking over his shoulder and blah blah blah. You'll forgive the sarcasm, I hope, but of all the ridiculous crap we've had to listen to over the past couple seasons from the mouths of idiot broadcasting personalities, none has flat-out pissed me off more than the story of Why Franklin Couldn't Close in 2008. He couldn't fucking close in 2008 because -- and write this down, please, so I don't have to say it again -- he's not a closer! He's a solid reliever capable of getting some outs for you, maybe even at the end of the game, if necessary. He is not, however, a lights-out, shut-down badass striding in to a Metallica song, ready to mow down any and all comers. He's just not that guy. Never has been, never will be. Period.
So anyway, which one is worse? The guy who loses the ball in the lights and can't put away what should be a relatively routine fly ball to even up a playoff series? Or the guy who, following the error, can't manage to record even one more fucking out before allowing the next four --four! -- hitters to reach base. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.
I blame Colby Rasmus.
That's right. Colby Rasmus. If Colby had just stayed at second base on his RBI double in the seventh inning, rather than being thrown out at third base, the Cards would have had three runs. See, the hitter right after Colby was Julio Lugo, and Lugo singled to center field. If Colby had been standing on second base when Lugo got his hit, he could have just trotted on home and scored. Instead, by trying to stretch his double into a triple, Colby was sitting on the bench when Lugo singled and was thus unable to score.
So you see, it was really all Colby Rasmus' fault. Sure, he's been our best player in this series (and it really isn't even all that close), but still, he's got to be smarter than that. Colby Rasmus ruined any chance the Cardinals had at winning Game 2.
Alright, you got me. I don't really blame Colby Rasmus. But I hope maybe you do realise what I'm trying to say here. There's been a lot of blame thrown around by pretty much everyone toward the two goats of Game 2, including me, to be perfectly honest. When it comes right down to it, though, the Cardinals probably wouldn't have the chance to lose a playoff series if not for both of those guys.