Mike Matheny must be getting ready to pull his hair out, wouldn’t you think?
Managers rarely want to go with such extreme inexperience with just a couple weeks to go in the regular season and fighting for your playoff life each and every night.
Yet, that is where the Cards manager finds himself. He already has one rookie in the starting rotation in Luke Weaver, and depending on what he chooses to do regarding Jaime Garcia he may soon have another in Alex Reyes.
At this point how could you possibly justify giving Garcia another start? You’re scratching and clawing to get one of the two wild cards spots in the National League playoffs and one of your five starters isn’t even giving you a chance.
Heck, Matheny even showed how little of a leash Garcia had by yanking the lefty in the second inning against the Cubs Tuesday night despite giving up just three hits. It showed the coaches were concerned.
It showed a change was close. Garcia just gave them another reason.
With his next start scheduled for Sunday in San Francisco – one of the two teams the Cardinals are battling with for the right to play a 163rd game – it makes little sense to give Garcia another chance.
So assuming Matheny makes the only real decision he has and inserts a second rookie into the starting rotation he is about to enter the final two weeks of the regular season with 40 percent of his starting pitchers being 22 years old or younger.
It’s not like this is uncharted territory though. Back in 2013, Matheny’s second season as manager, he rode the likes of Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal to a National League title and a World Series berth.
That means going into a stretch run relying on such inexperience isn’t unheard of but that doesn’t mean it’s preferred. Either way, Matheny may not have much of a choice.
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