By: Jim Tsapelas
Still reeling from the news of the season ending injury to the spectacular Carlos Martinez (14-7), fellow starter Jaime Garcia (10-5), throws an eight inning masterpiece in which he allowed just one earned run and struck out eight; as the Cardinals defeated the Brewers by the score of five to one.
Imagine what the St. Louis Cardinals may have accomplished in the 2015 season if they had played the entire season without major injuries to multiple key players!
In the 2015 season, Jon Jay was placed on the DL multiple times; as were Randal Grichuk, Matt Holiday, and Jaime Garcia. Spending time on the DL were Matt Adams, Lance Lynn, Matt Belisle, Jordan Walden, and Adam Wainwright. Cardinal players who missed playing time due to injuries, who were not placed on the DL, included Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina. Carlos Martinez was shut down for the season on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Matt Carpenter left the game early, in the fifth inning, due to hip discomfort.
The above does not include players who played hurt, or were given opportunities to rest in order to nurse less career threatening injuries, and themselves, back to health.
Also imagine what the St. Louis Cardinals may have lost in the way of player development if the team stayed remarkably injury free. We most probably would not have seen the early assent to the majors of players who were designated to spend a larger part of their individual 2015 careers in AAA-Memphis.
We may have missed some of the chills and thrills we experienced in watching the likes of Mitch Harris, Tyler Lyons, Sam Tuivailala, Ed Easly, Travis Tartamella, Greg Garcia, Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham, or Stephen Piscotty.
A fellow blogger, Joe Botana, commented to me today upon learning of the status of Martinez, “Wow! What baseball injury deity did you guys (Cardinals) offend this year?” I answered simply, “All of them!”
This amazingly remarkable and special year being lived and experienced by the St. Louis Cardinals is just that more amazing and remarkable in how the Cardinals preformed in the adversity of injuries in the 2015 season.
The resiliency of this Cardinal team is found in Saturday night’s five to one victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. Just hours following the Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak’s announcement that the right shoulder strain experienced by Carlos Martinez will shut him down for the rest of the season, the Cardinals who were defeated by the Brewers on Friday, jump on Saturday’s Brewers’ starter Tyler Wagner; scoring four runs in the first inning and an insurance run in the second inning.
The 2015 Brewers team is a good team. They in no way or fashion should be seen as anything less than a strong threat and as a hard team to beat.
Brewers’ starter Tyler Wagner (0-1) worked four innings, allowed six hits, five earned runs, and walked four. The Brewers’ relievers were virtually untouchable by the Cardinals. The Brewers’ relievers of Cesar Jimenez, Yhonathan Barrios, and Adrian Houser combined to pitch four innings. The trio of Brewers’ relievers held the Cardinals to just two hits; and struck out five Cardinal batters.
Including Sunday’s series finale with the Brewers, the Cardinals have seven regular season games remaining in the 2015 season; six of the remaining seven games are on the road.
Starting Monday the Cardinals begin a three game series with the NL Central Division’s Pittsburgh Pirates. The three game set may decide who wins the NL Central Division. The pitching match-ups (probable) are Monday-Lance Lynn (12-10) vs JA Happ (6-2), Tuesday-Michael Wacha (17-6) vs Charlie Morton (9-8), and Wednesday (the Redbirds have yet to identify a starter) I am guessing the Cards may call upon Tyler Lyons (2-1) vs Gerrit Cole (18-8). Following a travel day on Thursday, the Cardinals finish the regular season against the Atlanta Braves.
Earlier on Saturday, the Pirates defeated the Cubs by the score of four to nothing. The Pirates and Cubs meet again on Sunday.
At the end of play on Saturday the St. Louis Cardinals (98-57) have a three game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates (95-60); the Chicago Cubs (89-65) are eight and one-half games out of first. The Pirates hold a five and one-half game lead, for home field advantage, over the Cubs in the NL Wild Card race. All three teams have clinched playoff spots and are looking forward to the post-season.
On Sunday in the fourth and final game of the four game series, the Brewers’ Tyler Cravy (0-8) meets the Cards’ John Lackey (13-9) at Busch Stadium.
Thanks for reading.