Jason Motte’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery is on hold, as the Cardinals have placed the 32-year-old reliever on the disabled list with a lower back injury.
Motte has looked nothing like his former dominant self after missing all of last season, striking out just 16 batters in 22 innings while serving up seven homers on the way to a 4.91 ERA. His average fastball has clocked in at 93.9 miles per hour, compared to 96.8 mph in 2012.
Prior to blowing out his elbow Motte had a lifetime 2.87 ERA and 273 strikeouts in 260 innings and saved a league-leading 42 games for the Cardinals in 2012.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.