(BaseballStL) — Even with a right-hander on the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays, starting opportunities remain scarce for Oscar Taveras.
Having started only three games since July 10, the prospect finds himself joining the already crowded timeshare in the St. Louis outfield.
“It’s tough not putting any of them in. I don’t like not playing guys,” Mike Matheny said. Taveras has only one hit since the July 10 start, hitting just .071 in his last 14 at bats. However, he went 7-for-28 prior to the 10th in eight games, starting seven of them.
It makes for an interesting chicken and egg debate about the rookie’s production, made more complicated by the Cardinals being in a tight race for the division.
“Everybody knows we have to do what we can to win today,” Matheny said, explaining the major league level isn’t used for development. “There are times where you try to give guys exposure but the overriding factor is we have to do what we can to win.”
The club had said Taveras wouldn’t be promoted until he could expect to see regular playing time, but with sporadic production, the plan seems to have been tabled in favor of chasing wins.
Sending the 21-year-old back to Memphis would guarantee regular at bats, but there’s little left for him to achieve there.
“You don’t want a guy to just sit here when he could be getting some much needed experience at another level, but when a guy has [proven] what he can do at that other level, then you try to figure out how it can fit in here to help us get what we need,” Matheny said.
The skipper likened the situation to Matt Adams last season, when the big lefty had established dominance at the AAA level and was better suited getting spot starts and bench work in the majors. For the near future, it appears Taveras will have to follow that playbook to earn a bigger role.
“We’ll continue to give Oscar opportunities and hoping he takes off and plays the way he can play,” Matheny said. “[He] could be one of those guys that could force our hand if he starts taking advantage of the opportunity he gets.”
The lefty is back from his rehab stint in Springfield and could be activated as soon as tomorrow. For more details, hear from the man himself in our pre game story.
Adam Wainwright’s start Tuesday will be his 20th of the season and it will be the third straight year he’s hit that mark. There are only six pitchers in all of baseball that have made 20 or more starts in the last three seasons and won at least 11 games. One of them is Wainwright’s teammate Lance Lynn. The St. Louis starters are joined by Max Scherzer, Felix Hernandez, Zack Grienke and Madison Bumgarner.
Once again, Lynn finds himself in elite company as he continues to quietly put up impressive numbers.
1) Matt Carpenter 3B
2) Kolten Wong 2B
3) Matt Holliday LF
4) Matt Adams 1B
5) Jhonny Peralta SS
6) Allen Craig RF
7) Jon Jay CF
8) Tony Cruz C
9) Adam Wainwright P