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: Irving Lopez
Stats: 5 G, 12 PA, 1 RBI, 5K, .000/.000/.000, -0.4 bWAR
Statcast: 0.0% barrel, 28.6% sweet spot, 98.3 max exit velocity, .000 wOBA, .086 xwOBA, 41.7% K, 0.0% BB
“Well, you know I… I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn’t. That’s what I wish for. Chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases – stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That’s my wish, Ray Kinsella. That’s my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?”
Lopez got a little bit better break than Moonlight Graham. The Cardinals brought the organizational soldier (not a term you hear that much anymore) up with about 10 days left in the season when Nolan Arenado surrendered to his back issues. He played the complete game (or almost) in three of his appearances, including the last game of the season. Oli Marmol, bending to the pressure of Yadier Molina in the suites, pinch-hit Adam Wainwright in the next-to-last spot instead of the last in part because Lopez still didn’t have a major league hit and they wanted to give him every opportunity to make his mark in the record book. Sadly, Marmol’s indulgence didn’t pay off as Lopez grounded to first to end the season. He did have a sacrifice fly in the final game, the most productive at bat he had in the majors.
However, as anyone watching this season was well aware, there was no magic to help him out.
What’s in store for 2024: Lopez was outrighted off the 40-man after the season and it seems very unlikely he’ll make it back to the majors again. I would like to see him get that first hit but there’s long odds on that happening again.