When a pitcher declares that he should not be trusted with ninth inning leads, you need to pay attention.
Here's what Jason Isringhausen had to say after his fifth blown save of the season:
"I’m just getting sick of embarrassing myself and letting my team down ... We should be five more wins in the win column in my mind, so we should be ahead in first place even more. But they can’t keep sending me out there when I’m pitching the way I’m pitching ... We’re going to have to figure out some kind of remedy. I’m sure that remedy will give me some time off and get somebody in there that can do a better job right now."
Isringhausen's ERA is 7.47, and he leads the Cardinals in losses with four. It also sounds like he just fired himself, at least temporarily.
Based on recent usage, Ryan Franklin figures to be next in the bullpen hierarchy. He has a 2.00 ERA, but only eight Ks in 18.0 innings. Kyle McClellan has 16 Ks in 18.2 innings and an ERA of 2.89.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Chris Perez has saved eight games at Triple-A Memphis. His ERA is 2.16, and he has 21 Ks in 16.2 innings.
This is what Tony La Russa had to say about his closer situation after the Cards' loss:
When a reporter asked if Isringhausen would remain the closer, La Russa didn’t budge. "Let me ask you something. Do you think it’d be fair to talk to you about it or talk among ourselves and talk to him first? You think you got any chance to get an answer to that question?"
Nope, not really.
If you can only add one of Isringhausen's potential replacements, make it Franklin. But we say that with only limited confidence. Be prepared to react to news tomorrow, and don't drop Isringhausen just yet.
An update of sorts: The commenters at Viva El Birdos wouldn't mind seeing Perez. Someone suggested that they clone McClellan, which would have HUGE fantasy implications. Delightfully, they use the words "Franklin" and "beer" interchangeably, because, as Hardcore Legend puts it, "you have to be drunk to handle some of the contact he gives up."
Onto the bullets...
• The 13.2 percent owned Freddy Sanchez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs leading off for the Pirates. His ninth inning single gave the Bucs a 3-2 win.
• Over his last 13 games, the recently heavily-dropped Placido Polanco has raised his average from .164 to .280.
• Brandon Boggs hasn't stopped hitting just yet. The 25-year-old went 3-for-4 with his second home run. Through 11 games, he's batting .385. Boggs demonstrated decent power in the minors (23 HR in '07), but he's also a low-AVG, high-OBP sort of player (.257/.364 career). Not a necessary add.
• That's two straight blown saves for Jonathan Papelbon. He's only struck out one hitter in his last six games. No job security issues there, obviously.
• Quietly, Alex Gordon is having the season we were all looking for last year: 19 R, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB, .286 AVG. He went 2-for-4 with a homer on Friday.
• George Sherrill has nearly as many saves (12) as the Mariners have wins (14). Jeff Clement made his second start at catcher this season, and went 1-for-3 with a walk.