Can anyone remember the last time the St. Louis Cardinals had a spot in their rotation which was essentially a giant question mark this late in the season with this much at stake?
Sure, there have been issues before. But not like this.
The Cards are literally looking for anyone – and I mean anyone – to step up and be the fifth starter in their rotation. Jaime Garcia hasn’t shown that he’s wanted it. Luke Weaver did for a little while, but ultimately decided he’d bow out of the competition.
Michael Wacha, Mike Mayers…
You get the idea.
The good news is there are only six games left in the regular season and that spot only comes up one more time. The bad news is by the time that game rolls around on Saturday, the season will possibly be at stake.
On that day, Cards Manager Mike Matheny will be trotting out a pitcher that he probably has very little faith in for a game the Cardinals will likely have to win or otherwise risk finishing their season with no postseason.
All the injuries have finally taken their toll. It began with Lance Lynn needing Tommy John surgery back in November. It got worse when Marco Gonzales needed Tommy John shortly after spring training.
It got even worse when Tim Cooney didn’t throw a pitch in 2016.
To be honest with you, the Cardinals are outrageously lucky they were able to trot out Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake, Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez as often as they did this year.
If one of them would’ve gone down for an extended period of time in May, who knows what would have happened with such little depth?
Well, that lack of depth came back to haunt them in September. With Wacha re-injuring his pitching shoulder and Garcia seemingly wearing down from throwing more than 170 innings the Cards have had two openings to fill.
Only top flight prospect Alex Reyes has proven capable of taking a spot.
They tried Weaver, another prospect, but after a few solid appearances he’s lost his way. They tried Garcia again but only went one inning on Monday against the Reds. Wacha wasn’t much better in relief.
There are six games left. Five of them will be thrown by someone the Cardinals at least have some modicum of confidence in. But Saturday against the Pirates?
Like I said, when was the last time the Cardinals trotted out a starter with this much on the line it had such little faith in?
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