Is it a Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Is it just plain bad luck? Once again the Cardinals feel more like a MASH unit than a baseball team as injuries mount. Jaime Garcia down for the year after labrum and rotator cuff surgery, Jake Westbrook is headed to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, and rookie starter John Gast (who replaced Westbrook in the rotation) left Saturday’s game in the second inning with shoulder tightness.
It appears now that Michael Wacha is being targeted as the potential call to replace Gast in the rotation, being pulled from his turn in the rotation tonight with Memphis. That’s given people plenty to talk about. But for now, Michael Blazek has received the call to be an extra arm in the Cardinals’ bullpen until the decision is made who should take Gast’s next turn in the rotation on Thursday against the Royals.
There are definite pros to bringing Wacha up. The 19th selection in last season’s MLB Draft, Wacha impressed in spring training. He has also been solid in Memphis posting a 2.05 ERA over 53 innings and 9 starts while allowing fewer than a baserunner per inning. Continue reading
Over the weekend the Cardinals indicated that Tyler Lyons would join the team to take Jaime Garcia‘s place in the rotation on Wednesday. What we didn’t know was what the team would do to fit him onto the 40 man roster. Now we do.
Right handed reliever Eduardo Sanchez was placed on waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster and was claimed today by the Chicago Cubs. He will reportedly start his Cubs career with Triple-A Iowa.
Sanchez, 24, was signed as an amateur free agent and is known for his wicked slider. It was that slider that made him a favorite in 2011 as the Cardinals hunted for a closer. Unfortunately, Sanchez’s inability to throw strikes has re-emerged in recent years. Last year in 15 innings in St. Louis, he walked 12 batters. So far he’s done a better job this season preventing walks, but he is still allowing too many. Continue reading
Jaime Garcia will be shut down once again, the Cardinals announced today as they placed Garcia on the 15-day Disabled List and recalled Mitchell Boggs from Triple-A Memphis. I’m sure I’ll post about Mitchell Boggs later, but he isn’t fixed yet.
Many fans and bloggers have already tried to pin this on the Cardinals’ medical staff as a mistake. They’ll say that he should have had the surgery last year. That they called it that he needed it. Lets remember here that there is only one man who can elect to have surgery, that man is Jaime Garcia. The club and the doctors can want him to have surgery, but if Garcia wants to try rehab, then they try rehab. So to say that the doctors prescribed rest and rehab for it assumes facts not in evidence.
And it’s not that I want to let the Cardinals medical staff off scott free. I’ll say that they do make plenty of mistakes. What I am saying is that this wasn’t a mistake. Continue reading
I heard it again today after the Cardinals optioned Mitchell Boggs to Memphis. “Alright Boggs down, now can we get rid of Salas?”
And I have to say that I really don’t understand the dislike of Fernando Salas by a large portion of the fan base. I see it often, people wishing Salas wasn’t a part of the bullpen or the team. While I’ll admit that Salas really isn’t a true elite reliever like a Craig Kimbrel, he is a very good one more often than not. And those are the guys that usually make or break a bullpen.
But Salas has done so much for this team over the last few seasons that many are quick to forget.
In 2011 we found ourselves very much in a similar situation, without a closer. Ryan Franklin forgot how to pitch, much like Mitchell Boggs has this season. He kept being used early, despite his issues which probably compounded them. Boggs then got the first crack at closing, but lost it after his first blown save. Tony La Russa went to Eduardo Sanchez and his nasty slider next. It wasn’t until just a few games later that batters realized Sanchez’s slider wasn’t being called a strike and he quickly found himself getting into trouble. Continue reading
Thursday night’s struggles were apparently the final straw for the Cardinals’ organization. Getting the call in the 7th inning to help get Joe Kelly out of a mess, Mitchell Boggs proceeded to walk the first two batters he faced, allowing Milwaukee to score their third run of the ballgame. Trevor Rosenthal came in at that point and struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.
It was the most recent in a series of disappointing struggles for Mitchell Boggs who was arguably the best setup man in baseball in 2012. The injury to Jason Motte in spring training put the bullpen in flux and Boggs was never able to settle in to the closer’s role. As a result, he continued to struggle with both mechanics and confidence.
Despite the struggles, he was still regularly used by manager Mike Matheny notching 14 appearances, second most in the bullpen to Rosenthal. At this point though, Boggs is allowing 2.72 walks and hits per inning pitched and has a ballooned ERA of 12.66. He has blown two saves and been the pitcher on record for two more losses. A far cry from the pitcher who was dominant in the eighth inning last season. Continue reading