The Cardinals had Jaime Garcia skip his turn last week due to elbow discomfort, but it appears it wasn’t enough. Dealing with reduced velocity, he was pounded for six runs in two innings before being pulled from Tuesday’s game against the Astros.
Garcia, who was typically working in the 88-90 mph range earlier this season, was throwing 85-87 mph tonight and was also ineffective with his curve. He allowed just his second homer of the year, that coming off the bat of Justin Maxwell. The six runs he gave up took his ERA from 3.78 to 4.48.
There’s a good chance Garcia will join Chris Carpenter on the DL after this one, potentially putting Brandon Dickson into the St. Louis rotation. It’d be another big blow to a team that would fall to .500 on the season with a loss tonight.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.