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.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.