Edward Mujica pitched himself out of the Cardinals’ closer role and was so shaky down the stretch that there was speculation about leaving him off the playoff roster, but he’ll be part of the bullpen for the NLDS.
Mujica has struggled with shoulder problems and allowed opponents to hit .514 in September, giving up runs in six of his 10 outings on the way to an 11.05 ERA for the month. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals using him in a high-leverage situation, so perhaps they’re hoping a mop-up appearance or two could make him a semi-reliable option later in the playoffs.
Trevor Rosenthal converted three straight save appearances to finish the season after replacing Mujica in the ninth inning and the 23-year-old rookie posted a 2.63 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 75 innings overall.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.