Garcia’s great start

Lost in the way we lost that game last night, I feel like I failed to give Jaime Garcia his due for the performance he had on Sunday afternoon. He wasn’t totally sharp, made some mistakes, but he was good enough and if it weren’t for an iffy foul ball call, he might have walked away with the win.

I had a great deal of concerns entering the game. Was Garcia really ready for prime time? A 95 pitch limit that was talked about was hardly enough for a typically inefficient Garcia. Could he get deep into the game? There was no way the bullpen could absorb having to pitch four or five innings.

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Mike Matheny’s bullpen tomfoolery

Tonight the St. Louis Cardinals found a way to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, courtesy of some late game decisions by manager Mike Matheny. For fear of sounding like a broken record, this is consistently one of the most troubling things about his game management to me. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse before it gets better.

Let’s not talk about the double switch that took Kolten Wong out of a tie baseball game when he has been 5-for-11 over the three days since he got the call back up. The same double switch that put Mark Ellis, who doesn’t even have 5 hits over the last two weeks (4-for-26), into the game.

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Free Oscar! Or maybe not…

With the current struggles surrounding the Cardinals’ offense there seems to be a great deal of campaigning going on for the organization to bring up top prospect Oscar Taveras because he’s absolutely killing it in Triple-A. Not as much now, but his slash line is still a very respectable .298/.351/.508 with 5 HR and 25 RBI over 31 games. He’s mixing in playing all three outfield positions to boot.

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Cardinals face a serious pickle

The St. Louis Cardinals fell 3-0 today to the Chicago Cubs. They have now found themselves losers in 10 of their last 16 games and won just one series over that time. While the pitching staff ranks as the fourth best in baseball, the offense has struggled to find its footing this year, enduring a major inability to consistently score runs, stacking up 24th.

At the core, the only problem that the Cardinals face is that there are a number of players on the offense who are in severe droughts at the plate. Everything else stems from that because those droughts have been allowed to become deeper because the manager is unwilling to give them the requisite playing time to let themselves work their way out of it. Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos are just two specific instances. The organization ultimately sent Wong to Memphis so he could play to get his swing back (though seeing that he’s hitting .286, it seems it never really left it was just sitting on the bench).

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Shaking up the bag

Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak made a move last night, shaking up the bag in the hopes of generating some more offense following a rough 10 days where the offense scored very little. Outfielder Shane Robinson was optioned to Memphis in the predictable move for Randal Grichuk. The surprising move, however, was optioning Kolten Wong in favor of his former college teammate Greg Garcia.

Wong, who was the Cardinals’ starting second baseman and the future at the position just a month ago, now finds himself on a plane back to Memphis for another stint in Triple-A. Wong appeared to be turning a slow start around right before the return of Mark Ellis, his highly paid backup, off the disabled list. Ellis began getting more and more of the playing time after his arrival.

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