Braves starter Shelby Miller lasted only 4 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Saturday night, allowing seven runs on seven hits and three walks with four walks. The poor start extends Miller’s winless streak to 20 games. He last won on May 17 in Miami against the Marlins.
The lack of wins isn’t Miller’s fault. During the 20-game stretch, he has a 3.53 ERA with a 108/45 K/BB ratio in 122 1/3 innings. He’s received a total of 37 runs of support, an average of fewer than two runs per start.
Miller, on the season, has a 2.86 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and a 151/61 K/BB ratio over 176 1/3 innings. He was the big return for the Braves when they sent outfielder Jason Heyward to the Cardinals back in November.
The 54-82 Braves have lost 11 games in a row and are only one game behind the Phillies for the worst record in baseball, which would net them the first overall draft pick in 2016.
St. Louis’ injury wrecked outfield is now a little healthier, as the Cardinals activated center fielder Jon Jay from the disabled list after he missed the past two months with a wrist injury.
Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk remain on the disabled list, but the Cardinals can now use Jay in center field flanked by Jason Heyward and Stephen Piscotty in the corners. Brandon Moss figures to see more of his time at first base.
Jay hit just .223 with one homer and a .576 OPS in 57 games before the injury, but from 2010-2014 he had a combined .295 batting average and .755 OPS in 678 games.
Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Nationals with what was described as a minor back issue. The decision was really more about limiting the 23-year-old’s workload, which is something the Cardinals are now doing with 24-year-old righty Michael Wacha. Proof of that is Martinez getting clearance to return to the rotation Friday in St. Louis’ big series opener versus the Pirates.
J.J. Bailey of KMOV says Martinez will go Friday, Jaime Garcia will take Saturday, and John Lackey will pitch Sunday. This means Lance Lynn is going to get some extra time to rest his rolled right ankle.
St. Louis opened play Tuesday with a six-game lead over Pittsburgh in the National League Central standings. Martinez boasts a 2.91 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 154 2/3 innings this season.
One nice thing about having an MLB-best 86-46 record on September 2 is that you can look ahead to the playoffs (and beyond) without worrying much about the final month of the regular season.
St. Louis is taking advantage of that by skipping right-hander Michael Wacha from his scheduled start tonight as a way to limit his innings total.
Wacha has pitched brilliantly this season, going 15-4 with a 2.69 ERA in 157 innings, but he was hurt for much of last season and limiting the 23-year-old’s workload makes all kinds of sense.
Left-hander Tyler Lyons will start in Wacha’s place against the Nationals and every indication is that Wacha will take his normal turn in the rotation next week.
St. Louis has kept rolling along to the best record in baseball despite an assortment of injuries to key players, but the Cardinals would sure like to have All-Star left fielder Matt Holliday available for the playoffs.
Holliday, who’s been on the disabled list since late July with a right quadriceps strain, felt good enough to take live batting practice Tuesday at Busch Stadium. By all reports his bat looked just fine, but Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he’s not close to running at full strength yet and the plan is to hold off on activating him until that’s no longer an issue.
There’s no timetable for his return and the Cardinals can certainly afford to be patient with his recovery timetable, but for now at least Holliday seems optimistic about being fully healthy for October.