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Cardinals #2 Prospect RHP Luke Weaver Debuts At Busch Stadium In Third Start.

Cardinals #2 Prospect Luke Weaver fans seven in his debut at Busch Stadium.

August 10, 2016, two of St. Louis Cardinals prospect pitchers were called-up for duty from the Memphis Triple-A Redbirds when reliever Trevor Rosenthal and starter Michael Wacha were both placed on the DL. Top prospect Alex Reyes and #2 prospect Luke Weaver. Reyes made his debut out of the Cardinals bullpen for one inning on August 9 against the Cincinnati Reds. Weaver, arrived that following Saturday in Chicago to face the Cubs as a starter and at Wrigley Field. Weaver has made two starts on the road; and, made his debut at Busch Stadium last night against the Oakland Athletics.

The Cardinals starting rookie had a no decision in his first appearance only going four innings, allowed two earned runs facing the Cubs with his first three strikeouts in the majors. He was followed by Reyes in the game who took care of the next three innings in the Cardinals 8-4 win.  He was handed his first major league loss in his second start against the Philadelphia Phillies, giving up three earned runs with six strikeouts in five frames. Weaver in his debut in front of the home crowd, only gave up one home run for an earned run, walked two and fanned seven in six innings pitched. He was the first rookie since 1913 to have seven strikeouts, or more, at home within his first three game starts. And, the kid can hit. He had two hits in his second game and added another last night in the sixth with a single. 

This season in the minors, Springfield Double-A Cardinals, in 12 game starts Weaver was 6-3/1.40 ERA with 88 strikeouts. He had just been promoted to Memphis where he pitched only one game, 1-0/0.00 ERA with four strikeouts. Then he was told he would be traveling north to join the Cardinals as starter, to replace Michael Wacha. In his first two appearances in the majors, he realized a 0-1/5.00 ERA. In last night's stand, he proved his strength on the mound with a 1.50 ERA for his night bring that healthy average down to a 3.60 ERA for his first major league win. Cardinals won over the A's, 3-1.  Cardinals bullpen had his back as Matt Bowman, Kevin Siegrist and closer Seung Hwan Oh collectively held the A's to their one run. Oh earned his 13 save. 

Cardinals defense behind him spot on. In his third, he had two outs; but two runners on the corners. Steven Vogt slugs out a hit to center and CF Randal Grichuk takes care of the third out. 

"The Final Out" Oh, to close, one runner on, Jedd Gyorko starts a 6-4-3 double play. Oh gets the final out on a fly out by Marcus Semien to earn his 13 save. 

With a strong bullpen behind him, Cardinals offense helped in Weaver's debut as they put up enough runs to seal the deal over the A's. Jedd Gyorko, facing A's Ross Detwiler, no outs on the board, one runner on, Gyorko cranks out a flier over the center wall for a two-run homer for his 22 this season; and, eighth in August. 

In the sixth, Detwiler still on the mound, one out and two runners on was retired and Ryan Dull called to the hill. Dull gets a double play off a sac-fly by Jhonny Peralta and a run-down on Yadier Molina out at first, but not before Cardinals put another run on the board to give the Cardinals their 3-1 lead and final score. 

What is so impressive about 23 year old Weaver; along with his confidence, control and delivery on the mound, is his resilience. He fractured his left wrist during this past Spring minor league camp late in March. He sustained the injury in a collision with a teammate in the outfield. Fortunately, it was not his throwing hand; however, it put him on the DL for four weeks. After his rehab, he returned to play and hasn't looked back.  

WEAVER OVER REYES TO CARDINALS ROTATION

Cardinals fans are still waiting to see Alex Reyes as a starter. To begin his major league career he was placed in the bullpen and has been very effective. We have definitely been impressed with his relief performances. He has pitched 9.1 innings, issued four walks and had 13 strikeouts. He has yet to record an ERA. Some believe Reyes should have been Wacha's replacement. Well, at least one Cardinals fan that I'm very aware of who has voiced his strong opinion several times

However, with Weaver's excellent minor league record, coming to St. Louis 7-3/1.30 ERA for the two leagues, he was given the nod over Reyes as starter. While in Memphis, Reyes did start 14 games. His walks to strikeouts, 32-BB/93 SO. His record in his games pitched, 2-3/4.96 ERA. There was concern about his control and delivery still needing to be refined. In his MiLB 65.1 IP he had given up 6 HR/36 ER with allowing 63 hits. Now that he is in the majors, on a small sampling, he definitely has brought his "A" game to the Cardinals. 

The one fan I mentioned previously, may just see Reyes to make his debut as a starter. No details as of yet; however, last night he was in the dugout and had practiced with the rotation in the batting cage yesterday. Summations - 1 - Cardinals may go to a six-man rotation. 2 - To allow Wainwright a couple of starts off to rest a possible 'dead-arm'; or, in my opinion, his leg. 3 - To take the place of Jaime Garcia for a couple of starts. What we do know, in 1-3 innings pitched Reyes has been phenomenal. What we don't know, until he is given the opportunity, how he will do going 5-6 straight innings. In my opinion, we will see Reyes make a start sooner than later. 

Both of these young prospects, 21 year old Reyes and 23 year old Weaver, have a defined uniqueness while on the mound. For young pitchers, the confidence they show equals many of the veteran pitchers fans are familiar with. The fact those they have faced major league hitters, seemingly, has not phased them. They both hold a belief in their ability and it shows in their performances. To me, it is exciting to know Weaver and Reyes will be a part of Cardinals future.  

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