It seems that pitching has been such an issue for the St. Louis Cardinals this season that when hitting has been an issue, it’s just quietly faded into the background by comparison. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, the Cardinals have had nine different rookie pitchers on their roster this season. Such has not been an issue for the offense at this point which has really seen only Matt Adams spend time on the DL this season.
Because of that, and because the Cardinals keep winning, Matt Holliday‘s start to the season has been kept out of the eye of baseball fans. But he’s struggling to start the season, so what is up with Matt Holliday?
Through June 2nd, Matt Holliday is hitting .244 over the team’s first 56 games. That is a whole 66 points lower than his career average. It is by far the worst start of his career. In now 10 major league seasons, Holliday has a batting average under .300 at the 56 game mark for just the fourth time. His previous worst was .271, which came last year, and then .272, which came in his rookie year. Continue reading
Cardinals fans have seen this scene far too often in 2013. Unfortunately, I called this when I wrote a couple sentences about his return. Mitchell Boggs wasn’t fixed yet. Boggs still isn’t fixed yet and we learned that once again with his appearance in the ninth inning of a one run game, an appearance that was inexplicable to most every fan on Twitter. Matheny seemingly gift-wrapped the game for the Royals, bringing in Boggs who allowed a first-pitch home run by Jeff Franceour to tie up the ballgame.
Mike Matheny is a popular manager for players because he has a great deal of confidence in his players. Regardless of what is going on or what they’ve done recently, Matheny puts them in position to do what they’ve always done. At this point, Boggs’ issues are far more Matheny’s fault than his own.
Inexplicably Mike Matheny likes to use Boggs in tight situations to hopefully get him kickstarted and be able to parlay a successful outing into another and another until he is “back.” I understand Matheny is pulling for Boggs to get right. Every single one of us in Cardinal Nation is doing that right now. But whatever Boggs is doing now it is obvious to all of us, or at least it should be, that it isn’t working. Yet he continues to be brought into close ballgames and he continues to not be right. Continue reading
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
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
It’s easier to make a defense for Lance Lynn staying in the rotation after he tossed 7 innings of 1-hit baseball opposite a guy who makes 50 times what he does in a year. But even without that game, his merits and performance stand on its own over the last season as to why he belongs in the rotation.
So why is this even worthy of discussion? In a radio interview recently John Mozeliak indicated that the Cardinals would consider Lynn at closer if nobody else settled into the role. “If things still aren’t worked out by, for example, June, we would look internally and consider Lance Lynn as closer.”
No one can forget what Lynn did for the Cardinals in 2011 season out of the bullpen. After a brief cup of coffee in the rotation, he returned out of the bullpen and quickly earned himself a spot at the back end of the rotation and became a go-to guy. He posted a 2.22 ERA over 16 relief appearances before he went down with an injury. He returned in the playoffs where he kept doing what he had been. Continue reading