Cardinals top prospect, rookie Alex Reyes goes seven scoreless innings against the Giants.
When the St. Louis Cardinals called up their top prospect, Alex Reyes, from Memphis Triple-A, August 9, they placed him in the bullpen. Down in the minors, he held a 4.96 ERA and he came to the majors with some concern about his command and control. In his 65.1 IP, minor league starts, he had given up 6 HR/36 ER on 63 hits allowed, with 32 walks issued. However, he had 93 strikeouts in the interim. His assignment out of the bullpen, long relief. The Cardinals wanted to see, (1) - how he would perform now in the majors; and, (2) - would he show signs of being able to handle a starting role.
Thus far in the majors, Reyes has acclimate well to the major league hitters, surprising even some of the scouts who had reported their doubts in his readiness. In his first 9.1 major league innings pitched, he allowed five hits, issued four walks, 13 strikeouts with no earned runs allowed, no ERA recorded. He earned his first major league win his second appearance against the Chicago Cubs, August 13, for his 3 IP in relief. He was brought out of the bullpen for his debut as a starter, August 27, to replace starter Mike Leake who had been placed on the 15-Day DL (shingles), against the Oakland Athletics at Busch Stadium. He made one more start before Leake's return, September 7, then was returned to the bullpen. Reyes would realize his first loss pitching behind Leake in his first start after this DL stint, giving up one earned run in his 3.2 IP.
September 13, once again against the Cubs, following starter Jaime Garcia who only went 1.2 IP, Reyes earned his second win for his 4.1 IP, allowed only one hit; but, issued six free passes with four strikeouts. However, even though putting runners on the bags, he held the Cubs scoreless. Manager Mike Matheny made the decision, J Garcia was pulled from the rotation and placed in the bullpen due to his struggles of late, (7.43 ERA/13.1 IP in September). Reyes would make the start against the San Francisco Giants for their final game yesterday.
Both of the Cardinals and the Giants are in the race for the NL Wild Card. Most of the players felt this four game series had a postseason feel to each game played at AT&T Park. The Giants held a 2-1 series lead and Reyes seemingly was not affected by the pressure. OR, the pressure helped him to execute his best major league appearance as a starter, thus far. The 22 year old stands 6' 3", 175 Lbs, and is a calm presence on the hill. In watching him, even though hurling the two-seamer upwards of 100 MPH, his motion of pitch is smooth and whole-body in sync. Effortless, effective; and, very impressive. The concern about his pitch management went to the wayside yesterday as Reyes went seven scoreless innings, only allowed four hits, two walks and had six strikeouts looking at a potential shutout for the Cardinals over the Giants. His pitch management of 84 PC/58 ST was excellent; however, he was not sent back for the eighth. Matheny wanted to keep his arm fresh for two more starts in regular season; and, possible postseason play.
From comments I read yesterday, many wanted to see Reyes back for the next inning; and, possible ninth. In my opinion, greed of the fans for one stand, did they look into the future for this young rookie. We have seen too many pitchers go down with arm issues. Personally, as exciting as it would have been to see Reyes go the distance, I would rather keep him healthy. Reyes was beginning to show signs of laboring in his pitches during he seventh, after getting out of his jam in the sixth; but, still very effective as he got Jarrett Parker out looking for his final out. I feel Matheny made the right call. Reyes now holds a 1.03 ERA/40 SO in a total of 35 IP thus far this season; and, earned his third win.
Reyes faced Giants rookie Albert Suarez, and he also had a solid stand with his first appearance against the Cardinals. He, too, had been part of Giants bullpen in the first half of the season. He was recalled the end of August to replace starter Jake Peavy, on the 15-Day DL (lower back). He was 2-1 at home with a 3.12 ERA. He went five innings, giving up two earned runs, one walk and had two strikeouts for his day. In his third, he had two outs on the board, gave up a double, deep right, to Matt Carpenter. Rookie Aledmys Diaz, who had a double in the first, came to the plate. He does not work Suarez, he takes his first pitch and sends a bullet out of AT&T Park, right center. Suarez sees his two earned runs allowed go up on the board on a two-run homer by Diaz.
Diaz connects for his 16th season home run. Suarez went on the hold the Cardinals scoreless. In his fifth and final inning, he gave up a single to Randal Grichuk, but got the next three batters out. His second strikeout was the last batter he faced, Matt Carpenter swinging. In the scheme of baseball, not a bad day for the rookie. Just not a winning day as he was handed his third loss.
Josh Osich was on the mound in the eight. Kolten Wong blazed a stand-up triple deep into right center. Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a call to the pen, George Kontos to the hill to replace Osich. Jhonny Peralta, pinch hitting for Reyes, at the plate. Peralta punches out a single, deep left, for a RBI giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Bochy would go on to make two more pitching switches to hold the Cardinals to any further damage against his Giants.
Between Reyes, Kevin Siegrist and closer Seung Hwan Oh, the Giants could not bring any runners home as the trio left seven runners stranded. Bochy would micro-manage a total of eight pitchers throughout the game. Four of those in the eighth and two in the ninth. And, Cardinals fans question Matheny of bullpen overuse? Siegrist did allow one hit, with one strikeout for his scoreless eighth and 16 hold. Oh, with one strikeout earned his 18 save and handed the Giants a 3-0 shutout for Reyes' win and a split series with San Francisco.
NEXT UP FOR ROOKIE ALEX REYES
Reyes (3-1/1.03 ERA) next appearance will be against the Cubs, once again. However, in a new role. He will face Cubs, Cy Young contender Kyle Hendricks (15-8/2.06 ERA), in the second game on Saturday, September 24, of their three game series at Wrigley Field. So for those wanting to see the Cardinals rookie go the distance yesterday against the Giants? With his next appearance, you all may be very happy he will be well rested for his next start.
NL WILD CARD STANDINGS
With the Giants loss and the New York Mets sweeping the Minnesota Twins, the NL Wild Card leader is now New York. Giants slip into second one game behind and the Cardinals hold their third place and remain two games behind the Mets.
CARDINALS TRAVEL TO COLORADO TO TAKE ON THE ROCKIES
Cardinals have no day off today for travel. Cardinals Carlos Martinez (14-8/3.15 ERA) will face Rockies LHP rookie Tyler Anderson (5-5/3.65 ERA) in the first game tonight of the three game series. First pitch at 7:40 CST. Once again, the Cardinals will face an unfamiliar starter. T Anderson is 5-1/3.04 ERA at Coors Stadium. In his 71 IP he has given up 7 HR/24 ER on 72 hits allowed, with 61 strikeouts. He's 0-0 in September with a 5.40 ERA. His last outing at home, September 6, he went 7.1 IP/1 HR/2 ER on six hits with two strikeouts in the Rockies 3-2 loss to the Giants. C Martinez is 8-1 on the road hold a 2.35 ERA. The last he pitched in Coors Stadium was June 10, 2015. He went 6.1 IP/1 HR/2 ER/6 SO in the Cardinals 4-2 win. Even though Martinez does his best work on the road, the Rockies past history facing him, a .375 BA.
This series, coming down the stretch, is just as important as the last and those yet to be played. Cardinals offense needs to be at their best behind their starters. The Giants left AT&T Park to begin their current road trip facing the first place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Mets host the Atlanta Braves. This is a series for the Cardinals they can overcome the Giants. Solid "fundamentals" and RBI's; along with strong pitching from their rotation is a must. The Cardinals are well aware of the challenge before them. I believe in their ability to be successful.