As Blogger Day wrapped up at Busch Stadium and the United Cardinal Blogger members celebrated a well played hard fought 5-3 win that earned the home team a split in the Philadelphia series, nothing seemed to be wrong. There were smiles, handshakes, and plenty of chest bumping comments about a solid day of festivities that made bloggers seem like kings and queens for a day. Delicious food, a Q&A with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt III, and good conversation with people who you know best by their twitter handles than by an actual face. The drive home was fine if awkward, as the stomach begged for a tum and the heat started to make its way back out after a cool hour of rainy skies. Walking into the door, a couch called my name and there was a family member turned babysitter to send on her way. I check the phone, hot as ever after a day of reception gladiator fighting inside Busch Stadium, and an update flashed from Team Stream/MLB/St. Louis Cardinals.
“Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia headed to the DL with shoulder injuries.” WHAM! Jaw hits the ground and the stomach churns in a different way. Shots fired! The blogger hits the keyboard.
Three tums and a glass of water later….
What happened here? Michael Wacha was being rested an extra few days to aide a season that has seen the streaking young arm take on a load of innings during the past year that puts the man in foreign waters. A restful week in June before July kicks off. Maybe not. Wacha has shoulder reaction pain rejection or whatever the Cardinals were calling it. Basically, Michael Wacha’s shoulder is hurting and he will need two weeks(starting from the middle of last week) to ease the pain. This could be alarming or just a way for the team to save his arm for later and get Carlos Martinez some extra innings. Martinez looked good Sunday. After a rocky second inning, Martinez pitched three solid frames to close out his first win as a starter. He deserves more starts. Wacha’s situation isn’t as perplexing as….
Jaime Garcia’s ongoing epic Lifetime series resembling march through the desert of shoulder pain, surgery, pain, ligament damage, and more pain. The man hits the disabled list again and again reveals the bittersweet flavor of the lefty’s appeal. He has talent and ability but a body that simply won’t cooperate. Garcia didn’t look great against Philly on Friday but also didn’t show any signs of truly laboring. He had a rough start but has pitched very well in his return. What gives? Garcia’s shoulder is an ongoing problem, assuming it is the same nagging left shoulder that has prohibited his career from taking off. One must wonder how long the Cards walk this road with Jaime and how much their interests in David Price(whom, according to Redbird Rants, they are scouting at the moment) go up this week. Garcia is talented but unable to get traction and in a rotation full of arms and Memphis backups ready to please, his time may be numbered.
I feel bad for the kid but I also know this is a business and as Mo pointed out several times today, if you can’t make it happen, a team has to make a move and deal with the issue internally in ways that aren’t exactly easy or natural.
In a matter of 24 hours, Kolten Wong, Wacha and Garcia all have hit the DL with shoulder related injuries. Bad times that happen at the same time as the home team winning two in a row to split a previously doomed series with an inferior opponent.
What happens now? Mark Ellis gets a second chance at second base, and Mozeliak noted that the veteran must take advantage before the team must move on. Tyler Lyons is coming off a rehab start, is on the 40 man roster and could take Garcia’s next turn. There is also the possibility of letting Martinez backup and sudden surprise performer Nick Greenwood get a start to help the team adjust for the next couple weeks. He pitched 2 innings today but could possibly go 3-4 in Garcia’s spot. Tim Cooney isn’t on the 40 man but could be put on for a start. There are possibilities but neither of them sound as good as seeing Wacha and Garcia make their next starts.
An unfortunate misstep for a team that has won 7 of 9 and playing better baseball. The Cards hit the road for series’ in Colorado, Los Angeles and San Francisco and will do it shorthanded and a little weaker on the pitching side. While the return of Joe Kelly and Kevin Siegrist allows some hope to creep back into the picture, one must seriously consider the possibility of a trade occurring between now and the deadline as a possibility.
You can never have enough pitching, but you can really never have enough great starting pitching. Hence Mr. Price. I didn’t think the team needed a pitcher, but the way arms are falling and hurting in The Lou, the next month will be an interesting one.
Sunday was a good day at the ballpark but the afterparty left a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth.
There was also an additional level of emotion at the wake of this Sunday home game, because 12 years ago on this day, Darryl Kile died while the team was engaged in a series at Wrigley Field. The well liked and reliable righthander had pitched the Cardinals into first place a few days before his heart suddenly gave out while sleeping in a hotel in Chicago on a Friday. 12 years later, his name still carries a bittersweet weight of its own.
The Birds won the battle on Sunday. In more ways than one, they lost the war.