Exit Interview: Jorge Rondon

2014 Major League Stats: 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 IP, 1.000 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 3.03 ERA, 51 G, 62.1 IP, 1.27 WHIP in AAA
2015 Role: Reliever for Triple-A Memphis

Jorge Rondon made the trip to St. Louis a few times this season, yet only found his way out of the bullpen once where he walked a batter, but otherwise threw a quiet inning of work. Despite being on the 40 man roster and finishing up the year strong in Memphis, Rondon wasn’t given an invitation to join the big league squad in September. A note I made on Twitter at the time because it wasn’t like the team had an abundance of quality options on the active roster.

Rondon is part of a large contingent of pitching prospects who will be looking for a spot in the St. Louis bullpen. He has spent the last two full seasons (and part of a third in Memphis where he has a 3.10 ERA over 145 innings of work. He has a plus fastball that can touch triple digits and Derrick Goold rated his slider the best in the organization for Baseball America. Many have compared him to Eduardo Sanchez. Speaking of Sanchez, walks have historically been a problem for Rondon as well, but this season he posted a 2.9 BB/9, the lowest he’s posted in a full season in America.

He will likely get an opportunity to come to spring training and be in the running for a bullpen spot, but it’s more likely he will at least start the season in Memphis working out of the bullpen to prove that his walk rate is down for good.

NLCS Game 4 Preview: STL @ SFG

The Cardinals found themselves down four runs early in Tuesday night’s game in San Francisco, thanks to a misplayed ball by Randal Grichuk in the bottom of the first. But it was Grichuk’s home run in the top of the seventh that pulled the Cardinals even with the Giants with two innings of regulation baseball yet to play. Neither team would score and that would send the game into extras.

There’s been a lot of blame to go around the for the loss since the game ended. Most specifically, it would be Randy Choate for getting a case of the rookies and throwing the ball into right field while fielding Gregor Blanco‘s bunt in the bottom of the 10th that allowed the winning run to score. However, having Choate in the game at all there seemed like a bad decision.

First off, Mike Matheny told us earlier in the series that Michael Wacha was the team’s extra innings reliever. Yet the first game that gets into extra innings, he’s nowhere to be seen. Then you have Matheny opting to pull John Lackey after six innings with just 78 pitches in favor of using Daniel Descalso as a pinch hitter with the bases empty. Lackey had been perfect the previous five innings, except for a hit to Giants pitcher Tim Hudson. [click to continue…]

Molina’s loss could be trouble

As Yadier Molina grimaced in pain with every swing in the sixth inning, Cardinals fans watched and waited with bated breath, as they were hoping it was something temporary. The team’s most valuable player had to stay in the game. How could the Cardinals win without him?

With the pronouncement of a strained left oblique injury, that’s the question fans are asking themselves this morning. Even the team is likely asking themselves the same question. What are they going to do?

Thanks to some late inning heroics on home runs by Oscar Taveras, Matt Adams, and then the walk-off by Kolten Wong, the Cardinals managed to snatch away a win in Game 2 to split the series in St. Louis. It is now a best of five series headed to San Francisco.

Molina was examined after the game, but the team has said he won’t be flying with the team to San Francisco. That certainly was not the assurance that fans were looking for this morning. (Edit: Looks like the team changed course from last night, Molina will travel with the team.) [click to continue…]

Cardinals looking for more rest for Wainwright next year

After struggling through his second postseason start, a start there seemed to be some question whether he’d be able to make or not, the Cardinals have admitted that they will be examining ways to reduce Adam Wainwright‘s workload next season.

Last season he led the league in innings pitched, starts, complete games, and batters faced. This year, he didn’t lead those categories, likely as a result of the two times he was skipped. He ended up fifth in innings pitched, second in complete games, and eleventh in batters faced.

But this year he has also struggled with tendinitis in his throwing elbow. While he’s admitted to those struggles, he refuses to use it as an excuse for his problems on the mound, preferring to blame his mechanics as the problem. Yet soreness, discomfort, and fatigue can affect those mechanics as his body attempts to compensate for the problem. [click to continue…]

NLCS Game 2 Preview: SFG @ STL

Madison Bumgarner pitched as well as expected and he did something Clayton Kershaw couldn’t. Keep the Cardinals from scoring in the seventh inning. Thanks to an umpire assist though. With Yadier Molina on third and Jon Jay at second, Bumgarner seemed to lose his balance on the mound after picking up his lead foot. Pretty much a textbook balk, except none of the six umpires on the field apparently saw it. Without the call, Tony Cruz struck out to end the threat and the Cardinals remained scoreless.

But beyond all the problems. Wainwright not being sharp or the defensive miscues or the bang-bang maybe interference call or the balk, you lose 100% of the games in which you fail to score a run. So we can sit here and talk about the other issues that plagued the Cardinals last night, but the bottom line is that they need to score more runs.

Part of that might have been solved by putting Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay together in the lineup. I understand the mentality against putting two lefties back-to-back against a left hander like Bumgarner, but he’s done it before. Once you realize that Carpenter and Jay are the only two Cardinals who have really done anything against him in their careers, it starts to make a little more sense. They’re also the only two Cardinals hitting like they know what they’re doing this postseason. [click to continue…]