All Things Baseball

Keeping Leads Won’t Be Izzy for Cardinals

Jason Isringhausen hasn’t been one of the top closers in Major League Baseball this season, but his importance to the Cardinals can’t be denied.  He’s saved 33 games, but he has also blown 10 opportunities; he has won 4 games, but he has also lost 8; he has struck-out 52 batters, but he has also walked 38 (an awful ratio for a closer), and yet he, Jason Isringhausen, will be sorely missed by the Cardinals come October. 

Overcoming Jason Isringhausen’s injury won’t be “Izzy” for the Cards

You might now be wondering why Jason Isringhausen is out for the rest of the season.  The answer is that he has decided to have surgery performed on an arthritic hip, worsened by the fact that it is his “landing” hip when he pitches.  Painkillers and cortisone shots haven’t helped #44 with his ailment, and the Cardinals’ medical staff appears to believe that season-ending, and potentially risky surgery is the only option. 

With Isringhausen out, the Cardinals will need to adjust their bullpen.  Braden Looper is the only pitcher with any experience as a closer, so he will likely get the majority of the chances, in Tony La Russa’s planned closer-by-committee system.  Adam Wainright is another candidate to see save opportunities come his way, but his and Looper’s struggles against left-handed hitters could lead to some 9th-inning appearances for southpaw Randy Flores. 

Adam Wainwright — dominant early this year — is the guy that I think should see most of the save chances

A closer-by-committee system does not usually fly in the playoffs, which is why the Cardinals need one of the three pitchers I just mentioned to step-up and become a rock at the end of the ‘pen.  Randy Flores is probably the worst of the three pitchers, and Looper has been inconsistent, so my guess is that Adam Wainwright might be getting the ball more and more as the Cardinals try to reach, and (provided they do get to the playoffs) advance in the postseason.  Wainwright is a very good pitcher, though he seems to lose confidence in his offspeed pitches too often, and he’ll need to overcome that if he gets the bulk of the Cardinals’ save opportunities

If neither Wainwright, nor Looper rise to the task of keeping late-inning leads, the Cardinals will find their playoff life short and not Izzy. 



Yesterday’s Q and A…

Q: Who were the first Red Sox and Yankees players to win the AL MVP award?

A: Tris Speaker (Red Sox — 1912) and Babe Ruth (Yankees — 1923)

And today’s question…

On June 13, 2006, Jason Isringhausen recorded his 161st save as a Cardinal, making him St. Louis’ career saves leader.  Which former Cardinals’ closer did he pass?

You can respond to the question by posting a comment and you’ll find the answer at the end of my next post.


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