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.
Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn rolled his right ankle in the eighth inning of a shutout bid Saturday against the Giants and had to be pulled from the game, but it sounds like he is going to be fine.
According to beat writer Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lynn was diagnosed with a “mild” right ankle sprain and team trainers “were encouraged by the limited swelling” in his lower right leg. Lynn was moving around the visitors clubhouse at AT&T Park without a bad limp and even wore his pair of cowboy boots back to the Cardinals’ hotel.
If the husky 28-year-old does need to miss a turn in the rotation, the Cardinals can call on either Tyler Lyons or Tim Cooney. That won’t be difficult with major league rosters expanding on Tuesday.
Lynn worked seven scoreless innings on Saturday in San Francisco and boasts a 2.80 ERA on the year.
Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia had to make an early exit from a start June 24 at Marlins Park after tweaking his left groin muscle. It was initially called a cramp, but he was unable to take his next scheduled turn and now the Cards have placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain.
Tim Cooney will remain in the St. Louis rotation, piggybacking Tyler Lyons in Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Garcia boasts a 1.69 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in seven starts (48 innings) this season. He’s missed a ton of time to injuries in his career, but most of the major problems have been elbow- and shoulder-related.
The hope is that Garcia will be ready to return in a week or so. He’s been a huge lift for the first-place Cards in the absence of Adam Wainwright.
Good news for the Cardinals, as right-hander Lance Lynn’s forearm injury is minor enough that he’s scheduled to come off the disabled list to start Thursday against the Marlins.
Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Lynn is healthy enough to return when eligible Tuesday, but the Cardinals are waiting until Thursday simply because they don’t want to re-arrange the rest of the rotation. Triple-A call-up Tyler Lyons will be bumped after filling in for Lynn.
Lynn’s health is a huge key for the MLB-leading Cardinals in the wake of Adam Wainwright’s (likely) season-ending injury. He has a 3.07 ERA this season and a 2.83 ERA in 45 starts dating back to the beginning of last year.
Tim Cooney got the first crack at replacing Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals’ starting rotation and failed, allowing three runs on seven hits over just 2 1/3 innings on April 30 against the Phillies. Tyler Lyons was the next man up but he also struggled, yielding 10 runs — eight earned — over 13 innings in an audition that spanned three starts. He didn’t make it out of the top of the fourth inning Saturday in the Cardinals’ second straight loss to the Tigers.
That’s gonna do it for the Lyons experiment …
Nothing is official yet, but it looks like oft-injured left-hander Jaime Garcia will fill the Cardinals’ rotation vacancy on Thursday at the Mets’ Citi Field. Garcia has been out all season with a shoulder injury that has lingered now for three years, but he struck out six batters and allowed only two runs over six innings Friday in his latest rehab start at Double-A Springfield. He was shelled for five runs in 2 2/3 innings the outing before.
Garcia has always been an effective starting pitcher when healthy, boasting a 3.50 ERA and 476 strikeouts in 594 2/3 career major league innings. St. Louis is paying him a $9.25 million salary this season in the final year of a four-year, $27 million contract extension. If Garcia struggles or begins feeling renewed discomfort in his throwing shoulder, 23-year-old left-hander Marco Gonzales will probably get the next chance.
Wainwright is done for the season following surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon.