Dan’s post will report out on the game action, but given the demoralizing way in which Thursday’s game ended I wanted to point out a few things.
No Cardinal has ever saved more than 23 consecutive games in a row. The record belongs to Jason Isringhausen, set from 29 June 2007 – 9 April 2008. Edward Mujica‘s 21 consecutive saves is the third longest in franchise history, tying another Isringhausen streak that overlapped the 2004/2005 season. Mujica has more in common with Jason than just the number 44.
FWIW, Tom Henke is the man in the middle here; he saved 22 games in a row during an otherwise forgettable 1995 season.
Mujica’s been a bit of a high-wire act recently. Counting last night’s meltdown, he’s allowed runs in 4 of his last six outings. I saw him pitch on May 22 in San Diego, He entered with a four-run lead and proceeded to bring the tying run to the plate before closing out the Padres. It reminded me of the pitcher I saw a lot of while he worked for the 2010 Padres, a year he posted his career-high HR/FB percentage and got the nickname “Home Run Ed” among the season ticket holders in my section.
That season is an outlier. He’s never had a season with a HR/FB above 11% other than 2010. The nickname, while funny, and pertinent at the time, was undeserved. Edward Mujica has pitched very well for the Cardinals. The team is does not have the third-best record in Baseball and does not sit 2 games out of first in the NL Central without Mujica stabilizing the back of the bullpen.
His last blown save was on September 14 of last year, at Los Angeles (how’s that for a coincidence?). Ed was not the full-time closer then, but he was an important part of the bullpen, mostly working the sixth and seventh innings. He allowed one more run the rest of the regular season. He was credited with six holds over that three-week stretch.
After having that rocky inning at Petco, Mujica righted the ship. He recovered nicely from that outing to go 8 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. He will recover from this one.
St Louis has lost eight of its last 11 games. They need better starting pitching and more consistent run production out of their lineup. Their bullpen has been a strength and will continue to be. This loss stings, but as good as the bullpen has been St Louis was overdue to blow a game late. Call it the law of averages catching up to the Cardinals on this night.