Given that — as Bernie Miklasz noted in his evisceration of the Cardianls’ bullpen today — Miguel Batista was averaging 5.83 walks per nine innings and 15.43 base runners per nine innings, he was likely not long for the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. And today his run there ended: the Cards have given Batista his unconditional release.
Batista started the year deceptively strong — his ERA was low anyway, which doesn’t necessarily tell you what you need to know about a reliever — but he crashed to Earth in June. Last night was the final straw, as he came into the game with the bases loaded, promptly walked the first two men he faced and then allowed a two-run single. A terrible few moments in what was already a terrible inning for St. Louis.
In his place comes Lance Lynn, recalled from Memphis. He has started and relieved, but he’ll be doing long man work for Tony La Russa. Most likely in a more effective fashion than Batista who, really, may have thrown his last pitch in the majors.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.