Rookie Alex Reyes is promoted from bullpen to starter due to Mike Leake placed on Day-to-Day injury list.
The day came for St. Louis Cardinals rookie Alex Reyes to make his debut as a starter. An announcement was made that Mike Leake would not be able to make last night's start due to being diagnosised with shingles. When Reyes was called from Memphis Triple-A, he was placed in the bullpen due to being 2-3/4.96 ERA in his 14 game starts. Yes, he did have 93 strikeouts in his minor league 65.1 IP. But, issuing 32 walks, giving up six home runs and 36 earned runs on 63 hits allowed was a concern. Also, after his fifth inning, the game began to unravel for the young hurler.
MY PERSONAL OVERALL VIEW
Since his major league debut as a reliever, August 9, definitely impressive due to no earned runs allowed. In relief he had taken care of 1-3 innings in each of his first five games, earned his first major league win, and had a total of 13 strikeouts with his four walks issued; therefore, a 0.00 ERA. In last night's game as starter, he only allowed two hits, had four strikeouts; but equaled his walk count of his previous games. To begin his fifth, he allowed a single and a walk with two outs on the board and a slim Cardinals 2-0 lead. Reyes pitch count was already at 89, with 51 strikes thrown. Manager Mike Matheny made a call to the pen.
Zach Duke followed Reyes as he was retired completing 4.2 IP for his debut. What followed, Cardinals fans expressed their dissatisfaction in Matheny's decision to retire Reyes. Duke issued a HBP to load the bases. Then issued a walk for the A's walk-in run to cut the Cardinals lead in half which, of course, was credited to Reyes. Even from fans that were doubtful in the decision to allow Reyes the start, where certain that he could have gotten out of the inning unscathed handing him and the Cardinals a win. Evidently, these fans can see into the future. I, on the other hand, have not found that crystal ball. Hindsight, however, is always 20/20 from our cheap seats. Duke got the third out, stranded the jammed bases, to stay any further damage in the Cardinals 2-1 lead. He took care of the side in the sixth to hold the lead.
MATHENY MADE THE RIGHT CALL, IN MY OPINION
In my opinion, it is good that Matheny has broad shoulders, along with deaf ears; and, I believe it was the right call to make. Had the Cardinals had a larger lead, I believe Reyes would have been held on the mound. Even though, history does have a way of repeating itself. And, I feel, in regard to our 21 year old rookie, it was a definite possibility. Due to Leake's illness, Reyes will have another start; or, two, at least. This gave Reyes a no-decision in his debut, not his first major league loss as the game ended 3-2 in favor of the A's. The one run handed to Reyes only raised his average to a 0.64 ERA. Still along distance away from his 4.96 that he held in the minors; and, still very impressive for the rookie in six games pitched. And, Cardinals fans, the offense and defense were not playing their "A" game in last night's defeat. But, once again, Matheny is the Cardinals scapegoat for many disgruntled fans in this season. We all have been trying to figure out the "why" our Cardinals have not been playing well at home. Maybe it is the negative fan factor while at Busch Stadium. There is much cheering when the game is going well, as is human fan nature. But, not so much to get our players fired up when they don't have the lead.
I do have faith in Reyes for the Cardinals. However, to be a part of the Cardinals rotation, he is going to have to work to get past a fifth inning, better pitch management, and lower his walk/strikeout ratio to be effective. To be a star pitcher for the Cardinals. And, in time, I believe it will happen.
RUN SUPPORT FOR REYES AND THE REST OF THE CARDINALS BULLPEN
Randal Grichuk put the first run on the board, facing A's Zach Neal. In the second, a two out solo home run blazed out over the left just below "Big Mac Land" for his 18th homer this season.
In Neal's third, two runners on, two outs on the board. Stephen Piscotty safe at first on an error by Ryon Healy and Greg Garcia in for the run.
That effort would end the Cardinals scoring, as the Neal and the A's bullpen held them scoreless for the remainder of the game. Neal went 6 IP/1 HR, giving up two runs with one earned run, issued no free passes and had three strikeouts.
Cardinals Matt Bowman followed Duke for 1.1 IP. He took down the side in the seventh. In the eighth, he was stung with two earned runs with two runners on and one out on the board as he was retired. Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh followed. A's Max Muncy, first up to face Oh, hit into a fielder's choice for a RBI to tie the score which was allowed by 1B Brandon Moss throwing to home in attempt to retire the scoring run. He opted not to get the easy second out at first. Matt Carpenter had been given a night off, but brought in to cover second base. Had he been covering first, would he have gone for the out?
Cardinals wore the retro 1927 uniforms last night in honor of their first World Series Title in 1926.
During the earlier portion of the game, Rick Horton, with Dan McLaughlin (Fox Sport Midwest Sports commentators), mentioned some teams use a conservative defense, going for the obvious out. But, not the Cardinals. They are encouraged to go for the lead runner. Was this the mindset of Moss? Very well could have been. But, once he made the throw to home, he knew he had made the wrong choice.
Still on Oh's watch, Muncy was followed by Brett Ebner's with a RBI sac-fly to take the lead. Would Bowman been able to get out of his jam? Did Matheny make the wrong call to bring in Cardinals strong arm Oh? This just brings me back to the fact, had Reyes been held on the mound in his fifth, I don't believe that would have been the Cardinals absolute guarantee of a win.
Jonathan Broxton brought his "A" game in the ninth, taking down the side. As did A's Ryan Madison for his 26 save for the A's 3-2 win. Daniel Coulombe earned his second win, following Neal for 1.1 IP. Even though Bowman was not on the mound, he was handed his fifth loss. This is baseball and this is how baseball works.
MY FINAL NOTE
Cardinals fans will continue to throw verbal stones toward Matheny for decisions made and, at times, I don't understand some of what he does. On the flipside, I questioned many of LaRussa's decisions, also. Oh, but LaRussa has a Cardinals World Series ring. As of yet, and the opinion of many, Matheny does not and never will have. He he has taken our Cardinals to four postseasons in his first years as manager. However, he can not make the plays on the field or at the plate for the players. No, I don't agree with some of his pitching decisions, but as of recent games, those decisions have been basically good ones. I'm not crazy about him mixing up the line-ups. Personally, I feel keep the players in an everyday regiment at the same position and the same in the line-up. Allow them to become proficient. Then I consider last seasons 100 wins with the same "mixing of the line-up"; but we had tremendous pitching on the mound. This season, offense has come alive so obviously the players, they have become accustom to the ways of Matheny. Our pitchers have not performed as well. In a players preparation, they must be ready for whatever assignment is handed down. They don't go to the field saying, "Oh, today we are going to lose". Players have slumps, pitchers are not as strong in one appearance versus many others. This season, all our pitchers have experienced struggles at one time or another. The consistence, control and command has not been in abundance. We all have our 'down days' and performance is not always at it's peak. Are Cardinals fans spoiled, yes they are ... myself included.
I don't like to see our Cardinals struggling. I don't like to see them make errors and bad choices in the field. However, in my 50 years of watching the Cardinals, there have been seasons far worse than we are seeing in 2016. I have been by far more disappointed in the past. This season, our Cardinals are still in contention for a NL Wild Card berth still holding two behind the San Francisco Giants. Improvement necessary going down the stretch, increasing the wins at home. Cardinals, including this afternoon's game, have 15 home games yet to be played. They are playing great ball on the road. Now is the time for them to turn to a successful campaign at Busch Stadium. Regarding our Cardinals, Never say 'Never'. RE: 2011.
RUBBER MATCH THIS AFTERNOON, 1:15 CST.
Cardinals Jaime Garcia (10-9/4.37 ERA) will face A's rookie Andrew Triggs (0-1/4.38 ERA). The Cardinals will face yet another 'unknown' pitcher, which this season has posed problems for the Cardinals offense. J Garcia in his last two starts, one on the road, one at home, has given up 5 HR/11 ER in his 9 IP. He is 6-6/3.66 ERA at home. Left/right have hit him with a .265/.262, respectively.
Triggs will be making his fourth start for the A's as he began his major league career in the bullpen. He was handed his first major league loss in his first start, only going 4 IP, but gave up three earned runs. His next two he received no-decisions in both losses by the A's. In those starts, one on the road and one at home, he only gave up 1 ER/1-BB with eight strikeouts in 11.2 IP. His last start against the Cleveland Indians, going 6 IP, he saw his first possible shutout disappear as the Indians broke that up with their 1-0 win. In Triggs total 49.1 IP, he has given up 4 HR/24 ER on 51 hits allowed. He's walked 13 and has had 46 strikeouts. He's held left/right hitters to a .264/.262 BA, respectively.
Should J Garcia be back on the hill with a strong arm, consistency with control and command, this could very well be quite the pitching duel.