The St. Louis Cardinals‘ impressive hot streak on offense came to an abrupt stop as the team entered a pitching battle today against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Chris Carpenter started the game for the Red Birds, facing off against the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley. Carpenter gave up zero runs in his seven innings, and Billingsley responded with eight scoreless innings of his own.

The only person that hit well at all for the Cardinals today was outfielder Matt Holliday. Holliday got three of the team’s four hits against the Dodgers, including a 9th inning double against closer Jonathan Broxton. Third baseman David Freese got the team’s fourth hit following Holliday’s double. It was a blooper into shallow right field that scored Holliday, making the score 1-0.

Mitchell Boggs entered the game for Carpenter to handle the eighth inning. Boggs had a great appearance, as he faced three batters up and three down.

Most were probably hoping to see Boggs finish the game after the Cardinals took the lead in the 9th inning. However, manager Tony LaRussa sent in Trevor Miller to face Andre Ethier, who was the first batter of the 9th. Ethier answered back with a lead off double into right field.

LaRussa then brought in Ryan Franklin. It was a nail biting moment for fans, who were right to be nervous, as Matt Kemp ended the game with a two run walk-off home run.

It was a questionable move to begin with, as Franklin has appeared in only one inning in nine days. But what was even more concerning was that Franklin has blown three out of his four save opportunities before today.

Now, LaRussa is going to have to think long and hard about the facts at hand. In six appearances Franklin has blown four out of his five save opportunities, has given up three home runs, has an 0-2 record and is sitting with a 9.64 ERA.

At some point, the team has to realize that Franklin is not the closer he once was. Mitchell Boggs and Eduardo Sanchez are both very appealing options for the job. The team can not continue to lose close games due to blown saves. If the season comes down to a close division race, then these missed opportunities could mean everything.

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