Let the arms race begin.
Last nights contest with the Colorado Rockies wasn’t the only thing the Cards lost in a big way. After 2.2 miserable innings from Shelby Miller last night, he was removed with back spasms and the jury is still out on what his prognosis will be.
This is bad news.
It’s not just bad; it could be pretty much the No. 3 worst-case scenario for this time right now, just behind catastrophic injuries to Yadi or Wainwright. If Miller joins his two buddies Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the disabled list, we’re now looking at a rotation that has lost 60% of it’s members and has to heavily lean on the two arms that are left from the original five. Life got even worse this morning when it was announced that Joe Kelly would be moving to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his opportunity to have a meaningful season.
The list of names of who could step in at this point is extensive. Marco Gonzalez will make his major league debut tonight after only a year of minor league ball. Tim Cooney will probably get a shot at some point. John Gast, Boone Whiting, and Tyler Lyons could be called on to make starts too. John Mozeliak will probably get samples of work from a handful of guys and see who is the most effective right now. This is a pretty bad time for this to happen, considering were at that point in the season when teams should be playing at their highest levels. Enough baseball has been played to where guys are comfortable and in the groove of playing every day, but not to the point where they’re banged up and breaking down.
However, there could be some good to come of this. We have been preaching about a sluggish offense all year, calling for Matheny’s job and Mabry’s head, marveling at the lack of offense that one of the (supposedly) most potent lineups in the league has produced to this point.
I’m not saying the guys in the starting lineup aren’t trying, but baseball is very much of a mental game, and when your starting pitching is easily the best in baseball and you have the Wainwright’s, Lynns’, Wacha’s, and Miller’s of the world out on the mound every day, the urgency for offense might not feel as high as it does when, say, Tyler Lyons is making a start.
Could these starting pitching injuries be the catalyst the Cardinals need to get the bats started? Stay tuned on that. Also, keep a close ear on the trade market. The injury to Garcia and the news on Kelly means that Mozeliak will probably make some kind of move, not necessarily for a David Price or James Shields, (I think the Shields talk is ridiculous as it is. Why would KC trade it’s only proven arm in the middle of a pennant race?) but for something to get some established help in the rotation.
This team, for the first time this year, is about to be truly tested by this situation and it’s going to be very interesting to see how they respond to adversity.
-The Cardinals have designated Pete Kozma for assignment after 8 up-and-down seasons in St. Louis. Kozma was an integral part of the 2012 and 2013 teams, playing his best when the games mattered the most, but was almost completely useless at the plate, batting just .234 in Memphis this season. Kozma will be largely remembered for being involved in the rally off of Nationals closer Drew Storen in 2012 to save the Cards’ season in game 5 of the NLDS.