Q. What were the batting lines?
A. The three games:
- Game One - 2-4 with a SB off Carpenter and co; rest of Jaxx combined for 4 hits
- Game Two - 1-5, with an RBI, two K's vs McNutt and co. -- Jaxx fanned 13 times vs. Cubbie pitching
- Game Three - 0-4, three ugly-looking strikeouts vs Muschko etc.
In game three, Franklin's three strikeouts looked terrible in the box score. First AB, for example, three pitches -- the last one called. Second AB, another three-pitch K. Next AB, four pitches, one ball way above his head, along with three swings and misses with no foul tips even -- so that's 10 pitches, one ball and three strikeouts.
Craig Muschko, the AA ace that the Jaxx were facing, has had a great year, but still, the Jaxx had only 4 strikeouts, of which Franklin had three. He was overmatched that night by any standards.
Q. Should we conclude that Franklin was out of his depth?
A. An anonymous Franklin skeptic, silent after Franklin's stunning first game and decent second game, saw the box after game three and gleefully pronounced Franklin AA-DOA:
You called it properly. Yesterday he fanned three times. Safeco is still a long way ahead.
LOL :- )
By the same logic, the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx themselves were overmatched. They lost by scores of 11-1, 9-2 and 5-2. What's the Pythag win expectancy when you're outscored 25-5, Matty?
These weren't three mediocre AA pitchers that Franklin was facing: they blew all the Diamond Jaxx away.
And, we notice, the Jaxx' opponents won the first game of the next round 5-0, throwing a 4-hit shutout with another 12 K's. Tennessee won the Southern League by a mile; nobody other than the Jaxx were within 10 games. A lot of AA hitters are going down like pop-up clowns to the Smokies.
So, no, you don't grab one of the doomed hitters and say, that one doesn't belong here.
Q. Do you have a feel for it, a guess as to whether the AA trial was a success or failure?
A. Not really. Perhaps Franklin is way underprepared for AA. An underprepared guy might strike out 5 times in 13 AB's and get three hits in three games, as Franklin did. In other words, a college ballplayer might conceivably get the same results in an MLB series that Franklin did.
On the other hand, it's a new league and there's nothing weird at all about a guy coming up and striking out a lot in his first week -- or first month. Especially if he's going against the Yankees' starters.