Let’s Be Frank About Frank Francisco

Being a closer for a major league baseball team is a thankless job: if you succeed, all you get is a pat on the posterior and a handshake from the manager. However, if you fail, you get raked over the coals.

Frank Francisco couldn’t close the door with a one-run lead against the New York Yankees, but I don’t think it’s as much a cause for concern as some people would have you believe.

First of all, Francisco really didn’t have all that much leeway in the first place; he was expected to shut down the opposition clinging to a one-run lead and the top of the Yankees lineup on the horizon. And by the time Curtis Granderson came to the plate, he already had 3 hits in the game.


Secondly, it wasn’t all Frank Francisco’s fault either. If Jose Bautista stays in front of that ball hit by Jorge Posada, he is only limited to a single and maybe the entire makeup of that inning is changed.

Francisco got all the flack for blowing the save, but shouldn’t we also be concerned that Marc Rzepczynski not only allowed an inherited runner to score, but one of his own as well? A double to a lefty, Robinson Cano nonetheless?

Prior to that at bat against Robinson Cano, Rzep held lefties to a .162 average. The batters in the ninth that tagged Francisco for hits were lefties, which were hitting .290 off him.

So if we’re going to rake Frank Francisco over the coals for that loss, I think Marc Rzepczynski should share the blame as well.

It’s not like Francisco walked any batters, he just gave up three hits. I’m not sure which is worse, but if I had to choose death by a thousand paper cuts or death by a few giant paper cuts, I’d chose the latter.

A walk-off win stings, it especially stings when it’s against the New York Yankees, and it stings even more when it’s in their own backyard.

Going into last night, the Yankees were 1-18 when behind after 8 innings, so tradition was on the side of the Blue Jays. However, last night defied convention proved that it’s especially difficult to finish off the Yankees when momentum is on their side.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

7 thoughts on “Let’s Be Frank About Frank Francisco

  • May 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I'm with you. He's struggling, but I think he'll turn it around.

    Besides, I was all for the Napoli / Francisco trade when it happened. Can't change my mind now!

  • May 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    500 Level, I was never really crazy about the Napoli/Francisco trade in the first place, but the Blue Jays didn't really have anywhere to slot Napoli into the lineup anyway.

    Francisco will be alright, I always thought that since he's such a great strikeout pitcher that he'd be better suited as the setup man and let Rauch take care of the 9th, but maybe Farrell will flip back and forth from now on.

  • May 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I hated the Napoli/Francisco deal from the get go. So unfortunately I'm not giving Francisco a fair chance before running him over the coals. At the time of the deal, it did appear that Napoli would have been just a bat off of the bench. However heading into the season I would have preferred to have him regardless as the Blue Jays were going to start the year with a rookie catcher, and an inexperienced first baseman, both positions which Napoli had played before. I didn't think the depth would have been a bad thing. (Although, I also didn't see the need for another late inning reliever as we had already acquired Dotel and Rauch, and I was still under the impression that Purcey would be an asset there this year.) Now, in hindsight with Lind being on the shelf right now, and with the OF problems earlier in the year (Snider going down, Davis getting hurt) perhaps Lind would have played a little more OF and we would have seen Napoli more at first base?

    I really hope that I am eventually proven wrong on this, but I just don't see how this trade was, or can be beneficial for the Jays this year.

  • May 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I would just like to point out that Napoli 6 HR in 95 ab this season is decent but his avg 185… meanwhile in 40 more at bats rivera playing 1st has 235.. jee even EE has a 237 avg. also note Napoli has 7 errors this season compared to EE 11 who also has more opposition plate appearances by about 300. thus. Napoli has 7 errors in 500 plate appearances where as EE has 11 in 850. thus every 71 batters Texas faces Napoli commits an error, where as EE has 77. thus, Napoli will give you 6 more homers, but he will commit more errors, and he will cost you 3 million more. Napoli war is .8 whereas Rivera and EE are only a combined -1.5. can you really tell me that the Jays are that much worse off without Napoli? they would have maybe 1 more win. plus an additonal 6 million next year on a player beggining to show his age.

  • May 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Ball Fan, in hindsight the Blue Jays could've really used Napoli's glove at first base and bat in the lineup with all the injuries thus far. The reason why I think AA was so quick to trade Napoli was he had a gentleman's agreement with Encarnacion that he would be the full-time DH. Thus, with Arencibia as the full-time catcher and Lind as the everyday first baseman, there just wasn't any room for Napoli on the roster.

    That being said, I really wasn't all that crazy about the trade either, but even if the Blue Jays do "lose" this trade, it isn't one that's going to make or break this team moving forward.

    psmith, wow – I didn't realize Napoli had 9 errors already, and that's only in 10 games started at first base!

  • September 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    "A walk-off win stings, it especially stings when it's against the New York Yankees, and it stings even more when it's in their own backyard."

    But you can't lose a walk-off in your own backyard.

  • May 1, 2013 at 2:11 am


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