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Close The Door…PLEASE!

Close The Door…PLEASE!

Before the season we learned that Cardinals’ closer Jason Motte would start the season on the disabled list. I wrote that I believed the Cardinals would be just fine without Motte. It’s still early in the season, but from the looks of it, I was wrong. Mitchell Boggs has blown two saves already and hasn’t been able to be a shutdown closer that the team means.

I thought they would be fine because of their surplus of pitching depth. They do have that so I wasn’t totally wrong, but my theory really counted on Trevor Rosenthal pitching well. Much like Boggs, he has struggled this season. If he can’t handle the eighth inning, then he obviously isn’t ready to take on the role as closer. Many people are still clamoring for him to get the closer job because they like his “stuff.” Rosenthal has a fastball that frequently hits 100 mph. That is fun to watch no doubt, but throwing hard doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be a good closer.

Now, I don’t think now is the time for Boggs to lose his job as closer. Like I said, it’s still very early in the season and when you consider the remarkable year Boggs had last season, I think he deserves a couple of more opportunities.  If his troubles continue then the Cardinals should make a change.  I don’t think the change should be handled like the Cubs handled their situation.  Carlos Marmol lost the job completely in Chicago.  I think the Cardinals should go to a “closer by committee” and use that as a competition of sorts to find the next closer.

The potential candidates would most likely include Rosenthal, Joe Kelly, and Edward Mujica. I think that Kelly would be the favorite in a competition like that.  He has an ERA of 6.35, but that nowhere near tells the story. Kelly hasn’t had much luck, so in reality he hasn’t done too bad as his 1.59 WHIP proves (EDITORS NOTE – he also has a .333 BABIP – very unlucky)

Rosenthal has struggled early in the year. He has an ERA of 4.50 in 8 innings pitched, but he has the characteristics of a good closer. The role of setup man is as close as you can get to being a closer, but it’s still not the same.  I really do think Rosenthal would have the advantage, but keep in mind that he has never closed at any level of baseball.  Ever.

In 5 innings pitched this year Mujica has an ERA of 1.80. This and his enormous success last season after being traded to St. Louis should earn him strong consideration as closer. Mujica closed a couple of times when he was in Miami and had little to no success, but his fortune has obviously changed since being traded.

Another option that is being tossed around is Lance Lynn. Lynn is currently in the rotation after a great 2011 campaign, but he’s been a reliever before and a good one at that. In 2011, he was the Cardinals’ 8th inning guy and was absolutely dominant. This move would be easy to do because they could easily make Joe Kelly a starter which he did in 2011. It’s been awhile since Lynn has worked out of the bullpen so that could change the mindset of the Cardinals.

Right now, this is still Boggs’ job to lose, but if this trend repeats he won’t be coming in during the 9th inning for much longer. The outlook doesn’t look good for Jason Motte. He may have to undergo surgery that would end his year so the team can’t just push this issue a side. I still strongly believe they’ll be okay. Someone will emerge and take control of the last inning.

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Zack Nunn is a 16 year old writer. Check out his Cardinals blog at 2birds1bat.com. I really hope he hasn’t seen the video that name is based on.

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