Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mather Up, Duncan Down; Franklin Loads them Up

I blogged Thursday about the crowded Cardinals outfield. I thought Chris Duncan was the one guy, of the 3 currently sharing time in LF, who would remain on the roster for the foreseeable future, if for no other reason than his ability to play 1B.

Shows how much I know.

Duncan was sent down before Friday's game, and Joe Mather (who was tearing it up at Memphis) called up to replace him. Of course, Mather is an outfielder, too, so this does nothing to alleviate the logjam in the corner outfield spots. But he is hitting the ball better than Duncan, as has been well documented elsewhere, and hopefully more at bats will help Duncan get back on track.

I have been critical of Duncan's OF play since he started out there in left, but a post I read recently (which, of course, I can't find now that I'm looking for it) stated Duncan's defense isn't all that indefensible. He actually gets to all the balls he should, and occasionally gets to one he has no business catching. So I've begun to change my tune on that score. Based on his injury and aggressive efforts to rehab from it, he strikes me as a guy who really wants to play and really wants to prove he belongs here. So here's hoping he fixes his power stroke quickly and gets back soon.

I looked at the box score a little more closely and discovered that Franklin didn't start the ninth last night; he came in to clean up the mess Flores left him. But, he did allow a soft single to load the bases, which got me thinking. Hasn't Franklin pitched in more bases-loaded situations than anyone else on the roster? Is there a stat somewhere that tracks this kind of stuff? I haven't watched as many Cardinals games this season as I usually do, but it seems that every time I see Franklin on the mound the bases are chocked full of opposing runners.

Anyone else out there notice this? Again, no hard metrics, just a feeling.

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