MILWAUKEE – He did it again. For the fifth time this season, Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen blew a save.

 

Two and a half games in first place and a chance to go up three on the second place Cubs. No? OK.

 

One and a half games up on the second place Cubs. Again?

 

Izzy used to be a sure thing. Once you saw him coming in from the bullpen, the game was over. No questions asked.

 

Now, 37 games into the season he is already halfway to his career high in blown saves. He’s dropped to third in the Majors with 11 saves but remains first in save opportunities (16). (Do the math kids — that puts him at the top of the list in blown saves.) And for the first time in recent memory, Cardinal nation has started booing a guy that was always welcomed in the Gateway City.

 

But perhaps there are two ways to look at it. Izzy blew his career-high 10 save two seasons again. Yes, that’s right. Izzy let his fans down more than ever the same year the Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers 4 games to 1 in the 2006 World Series. If the bullpen is going to be this bad, let’s just hope history can repeat itself.  But wait…there’s more.

 

Rather than blame a false injury or make excuses, the St. Louis closer offered this heartfelt statement to the team’s website:

 

“It’s just time for Tony [La Russa, manager], ‘Dunc’ [pitching coach Dave Duncan] and ‘Mo’ [general manager John Mozeliak] to figure out what to do. Until I can get back on track or whatever the case might be, I’m sick of embarrassing myself and letting my team down.

 

“We should have five more wins in the win column, in my mind. We should be out in first place even more. They can’t keep sending me out there when I’m pitching the way I’m pitching. I’m going to have to figure out some kind of remedy. I’m sure that remedy will give me some time off from the role and get someone in there who can do a better job right now.”

 

Isringhausen, however refused to compare his early season struggles to the 2006 season when he was held back with injuries.

 

“Now, I don’t have an explanation,” he said following Friday’s game. “I’m pitching like a second-grader. I’m sure we’ll sleep on it tonight and I’ll come in tomorrow and I’m sure we’ll have a meeting. You lead the league in saves and blown saves … it’s not a whole lot of fun, especially when you’re letting 25 guys down day in and day out.”

 

In his five blown saves, Isringhausen has thrown a total of 3.2 innings and given up 12 hits, 10 runs, 4 walks, and 2 home runs. In 18 appearances, he has allowed 13 runs, 19 hits, 8 walks and has struck out 11 in 15.2 innings.

 

In fairness, Isringhausen’s numbers are still better than Milwaukee closer Eric Gagne, and he is starting to see two-time World Series winner Jonathan Papelbon (Boston) in his rearview mirror of ill-throwing competition.

 

It’s reassuring to hear a man admit his mistakes. The only question is whether he will return to being the promising closer everyone remembers him to be, or if Cardinals management will make at least a temporary change.

 

 

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