Good morning folks. Happy Friday and all that good mood flavor that comes with the final day in a workweek. Yes, the Cardinals have lost two in a row but what would the hot summer season of baseball be without a little inconsistent heartbreak from The Birds On The Bat.
After firing off five wins in a row, the Birds have lost two straight games to bad teams. The Mets threw a Colon sized beast at our feet on Wednesday and the suddenly streaking Phillies rode into town with a very hittable pitcher on the mound and took the first of four Thursday night at Busch. The biggest news from yesterday may have been Shelby Miller’s daring “lets see if I can break my ankle and piss off my manager even more” slide into first base and general mishandling of mechanics, but there was other afternoon action in Cardinal Nation.
Michael Wacha will miss his start on Sunday and will be replaced by Carlos Martinez. After the collective sigh across the Midwest, let me tell you how this is a win/win situation for the Cardinals.
First, there is nothing wrong with Wacha. He doesn’t have a dead arm or shoulder soreness. Mike Matheny is simply resting his arm in the same manner as he did Miller’s in 2013. This should be beneficial when the playoffs roll around(assuming the Cards get an invitation) and Wacha is needed in the rotation to deliver that 1-2 Ace punch to opponents in a 5 game series. Trust me that Matheny won’t sit Wacha for the entire playoffs the way he did Miller. He doesn’t need that kind of abuse, re-calibrated kickback or hate from the fans who compile Cardinal Nation. He is resting the kid to save him for the big gunfight.
Second, this gives Martinez a chance to stretch out even more against Major League hitters. This is good. Martinez pitched admirably on Monday, walking four yet limiting the damage from New York. The stakes will be raised on Sunday. He will probably get 75-80 pitches to work with. He can work on the changeup even more. He can face perennial all star talent like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. He gets to face a team that the Cards will only see a few more times in 2014. It is good to put the young pitcher up against non divisional opponents right now. Let him sneak up on teams who don’t have a long report on his stuff.
Carlos Martinez is a starter and is destined to be in the rotation, either in St. Louis or elsewhere. His arm is too wicked and raw to squeeze into an inning or two once or twice a week. Martinez holds the ball like a grenade during relief outings. He needs to relax, breathe and know he has a couple times through the lineup to be efficient and get set. This works out perfectly for the Cardinals. Martinez should continue to get starts and stretch out, and those starts may come in Memphis or with the Cardinals.
So rest easy when you see Wacha getting the occasional rest this season. Classic precaution. It’s getting hot, and the young kid’s arm needs to be protected in his first full length season. With the Tommy John epidemic taking on the scope of a classic zombie film and infecting many young arms across the majors this season, being extra careful with Wacha is a smart play by Team Mo-Matheny. The general manager doesn’t wear bow ties for nothing and the manager doesn’t sound like Christian Bale’s Batman in interviews for no reason. They are taking this matter seriously(yes I had a little fun there).
Tonight, Jaime Garcia takes the mound with the hopes of reversing this sudden losing trend. Yes, the Cards are a maddening bunch, but this happens every year. The inconsistency of baseball is a normal feeling if you have watched the Cards for a fair measure of time. They like to make things hard and keep the stress level high. They will be befuddled by David Buchanan and find a way to beat Clayton Kershaw twice in a row. That is another version of the Cardinal Way. Making fans remain on the edge of their seats.
Stay easy and have a good weekend,
Find my instant doses on Twitter at the handle, @buffa82