Maaaaaan, I don’t like that whole “Mujica’s arm” thing.
Your boy’s arm needed rest this past weekend, so he sat out against the cubs, and that’s concerning. “Dead arm”, “fatigue”, whatever it is, it’s too early in the season for it to be happening to your team’s closer. I understand, he’s not been a “closer” before. (Geez, enough with the quotation marks already, Dathan.) He did finish 24 games for the Padres in 2010–a team that finished 2nd in the NL West, and had Heath Bell closing out games. In 2008, Mujica finished 13 games for the Indians, with just under 39 innings as just one of the guys in the bullpen on a .500 team that closed games by committee. That’s the last time he threw fewer innings in a season than he has so far this year. If you want to go ahead and read that last sentence again, I’ll wait here.
Edward’s career high in IP was 93 2/3 the next season, 2009 (in which he started 4 games), and in the years since has gone:
- 2010 – 69 2/3
- 2011 – 76.0
- 2012 – 65 1/3
But here we are, heading into late August, neck-and-neck (and neck) with two other teams in our division for a shot at the postseason, and he’s got arm issues with fewer than 55 IP. According to Kevin Massoth, Matheny said he hoped the “last few days here have worked, and we got [Mujica] to a better place.” (Seriously, Mike? How are you as involved in the sports scene in St. Louis as you are, and NOT know exactly how to get to a better place??) This, my friends, is a bad time to be having issues with the stopper. It isn’t that we’re seeing blown saves left and right…yet, and hopefully we don’t. The way I see it, there’s a good news/bad news/scary as all hell scenario waiting for us, should Mujica not have the Magic-a <chorus of boos> to push this Cardinals team into October.
The good news is that, unlike earlier this season when we lost Motte, there are fewer unknowns as to what potential options might be available out of the bullpen. When Motte went down, it was a guessing game, and once Edward started locking down wins, we were in good shape, had he not done so, the team could’ve flailed (and failed) for a while. Today? Today we have seen a few young arms emerge, and our options from the ‘pen, should we need to move on to someone else for fireman duties, are much better known than they were this spring.
The bad news, which also happens to be the ‘scary as all hell news’ is… Ok, so I’m not much of a movie guy, right? But I remember once hearing some producer or director who makes horror films give a bit of insight as to how he comes up with such scary monsters or whatever in his movies. He said that you never show the monster. Show parts of it here & there, but only a slight glimpse. He explained that the reason was because he could never create, in reality, something as scary to the viewer as what the viewer was capable of imagining on their own. So, let me take that approach with the bad/scary as all hell news, and pose this question:
How long do you think Mike Matheny would keep running Mujica out there?
As tight as this race is, I don’t know if I want to imagine it.