Here’s something you don’t want to hear if you are a Cardinals fan. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals closer Edward Mujica admitted yesterday that fatigue has caused him to alter his mechanics.
“My body feels like a little bit tired, and my release point is getting a little bit up,” Mujica said. “My thinking in my mind I’ve set it to get to the playoffs. One more month. Right now, I don’t want to think about (fatigue). Let’s finish it off, these nine games, and then if we make the playoffs think about the playoffs.”
Mujica has been a revelation out of the closer role for most of the season, posting a 1.73 ERA through the end of August, but he has allowed seven runs on 15 hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings this month. He spotted the faulty mechanics during a video session yesterday, but it didn’t make an immediate impact, as he was yanked in the middle of a save chance against the Brewers. John Axford ended up bailing him out while the Cardinals won in 10 innings.
Mujica missed some time in August due to muscle tightness in his neck/back area and received anti-inflammatory medication, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny insists that he’s healthy right now. Still, it’s clear that something isn’t right.
With a division to wrap up and the postseason rapidly approaching, this could be the time to give Trevor Rosenthal a shot in the ninth inning. The 23-year-old fireballer has a 2.73 ERA and 103/20 K/BB ratio over 72 1/3 innings this season. He ranks fourth among relievers (min. 60 IP) with 12.82 K/9.
UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Mujica has been removed from the closer role for the next few days and perhaps longer.
Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.
After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.
That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0 …
That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.
In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …
Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.
After taking Game 1 of the NLDS in an outstanding performance from John Lackey, the Cardinals dropped three straight to the Cubs by scores of 6-3, 8-6 and 6-4. It’s not difficult at all to imagine a healthy Carlos Martinez swinging one of those games.
Martinez wasn’t the Cardinals’ best starter this year, but he was the one who could shut a team down by himself, with little help from the defense needed. Martinez struck out 184 batters in 179 2/3 innings while going 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA. He left his next-to-last regular season start with a shoulder strain that was going to cost him the entirety of the postseason no matter how far the Cardinals advanced. It was a killer blow for a team whose offense had already been slowed by injuries.
October just came at the wrong time for the Cardinals, what with Martinez down, Yadier Molina nursing a significant thumb injury, Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk far from 100 percent and Adam Wainwright still weeks short of potentially pulling off a Marcus Stroman-like return to the rotation.
It’s Molina absence Thursday and lack of effectiveness otherwise that serve as a popular explanation/excuse for the Cardinals’ loss. And the downgrade from him to Tony Cruz behind the plate was huge, even if Molina is no longer the hitter he was a couple of years back.
Martinez, though, had the potential to even up the NLDS just by doing what he did in the regular season. And had Martinez been in the rotation, the Cardinals wouldn’t have moved up Lackey to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. They’d have been the clear favorites in a Game 5 Jon Lester-Lackey rematch back in St. Louis, though we’ll never know how that might have worked out.