There was no way the bats were going to be held down for long. Getting Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker and Matt Carpenter back didn’t hurt either. Matt Adams was sent back to AAA Memphis to work his plate discipline, but I still feel he’ll be back in 2013 and be the Cards 1B of the future for many years. It was good for him to get his a cup of coffee out of the way.
The day after the Cards had the no-hitter thrown against them on June 1st by Johan Santana, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey threw a complete game shutout against them. We’ve all always heard of the tailspin an offense can go into after facing a knuckleballer, and now I’m a believer. Including the game on June 2nd vs. Dickey, the Cards averaged 3.66 runs per game over the next 18 games. Before that, the Cards were averaging 5.26 runs per game. The Cards scored 30 runs in 3 games in this weekend series sweep against the Royals. The Cards have taken back over the lead in the NL with 5.01 runs per game.
A lot of the short attention span crowds are now calling for Lance Lynn to be put back in the bullpen. He’s given up 11 ER in 10 1/3 IP over his last 2 games, and he’s being compared to the Kyle McClellan of 2011. I’m not sure where the rock is these people crawl out from under at times like this, but I think they’re going to be disappointed. Lynn is a starter from here on out unless he has an injury. Should he not be allowed to go into a slump at some point? I guess his ERA skyrocketing to 3.23 is cause enough for some to jump off of a cliff for a 2nd year pitcher. Nevermind his 92 K’s in 92 IP or the fact that opponents are hitting .234 against him, which is best among all Cards SP’s.
I’m a little confused about the decisions surrounding Jaime Garcia. Garcia has a torn labrum in his shoulder as well as a partial tear of the rotator cuff. The decision the Cards are making to shut him down and pitch after resting it is not the way to go. Labrum tears will not heal on their own. I can see why the Cards want to avoid surgery as most pitchers never come back from a torn labrum with or without surgery, but this has Mark Mulder written all over it.
Mulder had the exact same thing as Garcia, a labrum tear and a slight tear of the rotator cuff, and his career was over at 30 because of it. Really, it was over at 28 but he tried to pitch with it before and after surgery for 3 years, going 6-10 with an 8.59 ERA. Even though Mulder eventually had the surgery, he did more damage trying to pitch after resting it that resulted in a full tear and a more invasive surgery. The Cards and Garcia will be lucky if he ever pitches effectively again. I’m sure someday the shoulder surgery for labrum tears will be as routine as Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t look like it’s in the near future.
Kevin Youkilis (Also referred to as the Greek God of walks from the movie “Moneyball“) was traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox yesterday. That was good news for the Cardinals as the Reds appeared to be the front runners to land him until the White Sox jumped in. Outside of Joey Votto, the Reds have some plate discipline issues, and Youkilis would have helped them improve on their 9th place NL ranking in OBP (the Cards are 1st at .341 while the Reds are at .319).
Some more good news for the Cardinals is that teams are starting to hit the Reds Cuban defector closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman’s blown 4 of his last 6 games. Chapman is apparently suffering from the same syndrome as Jason Motte, throwing mainly fastballs. Chapman is the hardest thrower in the game as he can hit 103 MPH, but it doesn’t matter unless you mix in another pitch or two. Let’s all hope Motte is making mental notes of this when he watches Baseball Tonight or the MLB Network. Hopefully the message going through his head is if they can catch up to Chapman’s fastball, they’ll continue to easily catch up to his as well.
The Cards head to Miami tonight to start a 3 game series with the Marlins. Don’t kick your TV when you watch the games, the Marlins stadium really does have the crazy looking thing in this picture above the left-center field wall. The Marlins have lost 15 of their last 18 games. The Cards will get lucky by missing Josh Johnson and instead will face Ricky Nolasco (6-6, 5.16 ERA), Carlos Zambrano (4-5, 4.01 ERA) and Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 3.94 ERA). Let’s hope they can keep the Marlins down, and hopefully start to align the offense, SP and BP at the same time. The Marlins BP is 15th in the NL in ERA and WHIP, and their offense is 13th in OPS.