This season didn’t go like most seasons. The Cardinals were terrible. I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary. However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series! Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same. As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!
Player: Casey Lawrence
Stats: 1-0, 15 G, 27.1 IP, 32 H, 7 HR, 10 BB, 20 K, 6.59 ERA, 6.44 FIP, 1.537 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR
Statcast: 7.8% barrel, 32.2% sweet spot, 109.6 max exit velocity, .393 wOBA, .322 xwOBA, 16.4% K, 8.2% BB
There are 1,377 innings (give or take a few for shortened games, extra innings, etc.) that a team has to cover over the entire season. We’ve not gotten to the point where a team can forfeit either an entire day or the last part of a blowout. You’ve got to get the outs and while position players may chime in here or there, for the most part you need a trained arm. A person that has thrown pitches for his career. A guy that knows how to get people out.
That need becomes much more acute when a team, a bad team, decides to sell off 40% of its starting rotation and a few parts from the bullpen. Somehow they have to make it from August 1 to October 1. Games have to end, you see. Outs have to be gotten. Innings have to be covered.
Which is why Casey Lawrence wound up as a St. Louis Cardinal.
The Cards grabbed him off of waivers from the Blue Jays right before The Great Purge and once those parts that had value were shipped to parts hither and yon, Lawrence got his opportunity. It’s difficult to say he ran with it, though some of his numbers are skewed by giving up four runs to the Brewers in two innings and five to the Reds in less than that. Even without those, though, there were few times where he went an inning or more and didn’t allow a run. His shining moment may have been throwing two scoreless against the Padres and getting the win in extra innings. It’s not much, but you take what you can get.
It’s a bit interesting that the Cardinals went away from their initial usage pattern for Lawrence, though. His first three games, he threw 12.2 of the innings he would accumulate for the club, posting an ERA about 5 but keeping the bullpen from being overexposed and allowing good pitchers to rest in games that were out of hand. When September came along, though, he started averaging just a little over one inning an outing and four times only got two outs. If you are going to cover innings (and quality isn’t really an issue), you might as well use the innings eater you picked up. Not that it would have changed things, it’s just kinda interesting to see that shift.
What’s in store for 2024: Lawrence was designated for assignment and elected free agency. He might get a minor league deal this offseason with someone, he might have to wait until later in the summer. He’s also 36 years old, so the phone just may not ring at all.