Cards' Franklin likely to retire after the 2011 season

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Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss on Saturday that he’s likely to hang up his cleats after the 2011 season.

It makes sense, really.  Franklin signed a two-year, $6.5 million extension this offseason, so he won’t be skipping out on a contract.  He will also be 38 at that point and has obviously been paying attention to Trevor Hoffman’s struggles with old age.

“I’ve talked to guys who have retired. And they say to play as long as
they let you,” Franklin told the Post-Dispatch. “But right now I just don’t see that for
me. If I have a good year next year, somebody is going to have to throw
some serious money at me to make me stick around for a one-year deal.”

Franklin is married with three kids and owns a large plot of hunting
land outside of Oklahoma City, where he makes his offseason home.  He
hopes to further develop the nearly 700 acres once he retires.

For now, he’s getting the job done in St. Louis with the same impressive consistency that he showed over the first five months of the 2009 season.  As of Sunday morning, he boasts a 2.40 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP and 13 saves in 14 chances.  The Cardinals sit atop the National League Central standings with a 38-30 record.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: