Edward Mujica had a ridiculous 1.73 ERA and 43/3 K/BB ratio over his first 57 1/3 innings this season. But the righty’s September has been nightmarish.
Mujica allowed three hits and two earned runs while recording only one out in an appearance Saturday night in St. Louis’ 6-2 defeat of the Cubs and now has an 11.05 ERA in 7 1/3 frames this month. “That was tough,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Mujica’s latest poor appearance on Saturday. “I wanted things to go differently than that, for sure.”
Trevor Rosenthal has taken over as the Cardinals’ closer and there’s some question now about Mujica’s inclusion on the postseason roster. “We’ll see how he feels and (have) everybody kind of get their heads together,” said Matheny on that particular topic. “Right now is not the time to make that decision.”
St. Louis has locked up the National League Central crown and will try to clinch homefield advantage through the NLCS in Sunday’s series- and season-finale against the Cubs. A Braves loss will also clinch that.
The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.
Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.
With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.
Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.
Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.
Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.