Cardinals Closer Battle: Tony LaRussa Messing With Fantasy Owners

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 22: Reliever Eduardo Sanchez #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on April 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

OK. So Tony LaRussa has shingles, which if you've never had them before, are painful and can be itchy. He has his shingles around his right eye, so much so, that his eye is almost completely shut. Maybe that is why he can't decide who his closer is right now.

He opened the season with Ryan Franklin as his closer, and everyone knew how that would turn out, right? Well, he blew four saves and lost his closer job. Then TLR went with Mitchell Boggs, who saves three games in a row, then blew one save, and since has been relegated to the 7th and 8th innings.

Once Boggs lost his job, TLR went to Fernando Salas who has saved two games in the last week, and he has also gone with Ediuardo Sanchez to close out one game, which he was successful in doing.

More on the Cardinals closer battle after the jump:

Another name not mentioned is Jason Motte, who I thought for sure was the guy to replace Franklin as the Cardinals closer this year. But he hasn't had one save opportunity yet. So let's take a closer look at the three closer candidates in St.Louis:

Boggs-3 SV, 15.1 IP, 9.19 K/9, 1.72 BB/9, .262 BABIP, 75.3% LOB%, 2.30 ERA, 2.82 xFIP

Salas-2 SV, 10.1 IP, 10.45 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, .250 BABIP, 88.9% LOB%, 0.87 ERA, 2.55 xFIP

Sanchez-1 SV, 10.0 IP, 15.30 K/9, 1.80 BB/9, .294 BABIP, 71.4% LOB%, 1.80 ERA, 1.23 xFIP

What this analysis show us is all three have closer ability, can get a strike out when needed, and don't walk too many batters. The last thing any manager wants to see is their closer come in and walk the first batter.

Boggs has the most saves of the three, but as mentioned before, he has been relegated to the 7th and 8th innings of late, and was used in the 7th inning on Monday night. Salas has closer experience in the minors, and has converted his two save chances. But, Salas was used to pitch the 8th inning on Monday night in a tie game. Meanwhile Sanchez, who hasn't pitched since last Friday, where he threw 2 innings and struck out 3 of the 7 batters he faced, did not pitch at all.

Salas earned his two saves on Thursday the 28th and Saturday the 30th. Sanchez earned his only save on Wednesday the 27th, then threw two innings last Friday. Could it be that Salas got the save opportunity on Saturday because Sanchez threw two innings on Friday night? We will soon find out, I hope, who Larussa will choose as his closer.

Last night TLR pitched Salas in the 6th and 7th innings of a tie game, giving up one run and throwing 43 pitches to boot. The Cardinals eventually took the lead in the 7th and Larussa went with Sanchez for the save.

So who will be the Cardinals closer this season? My money is on Sanchez at the moment. I picked him up in a few leagues last week.

Who do you think eventually wins the closer battle in St. Louis?

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