Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shoulder issues plague Jaime Garcia again. Will Michael Wacha get the call?

Perhaps the Cardinals could use Chris Carpenter in the rotation after all?

Just when you thought the Cardinals pitching staff was chugging along and nothing could stop them, they lose two pitchers in less than a week. 

Nearly a week after placing Jake Westbrook on the DL with elbow inflamation, Jaime Garcia was put on the DL today with a left shoulder impingment.  Mitchell Boggs was called up to replace him on the active roster.

This is the same injury that kept Garcia out for two months last year and the Cards fear it could be worse this time around, possibly requiring surgery.

John Gast is currently filling in for Westbrook in the rotation as Jake is expected to miss at least 3 starts. 

With Garcia joining him on the DL, speculation has already begun as to who will make his next start on Wednesday. 

Here are the leading candidates:

Joe Kelly

While Kelly filled in admirably last year while Garcia was on the DL, he has worked primarily in relief this season and would need to be stretched out.  So, if the Cards wanted to go with Kelly, they would still need someone else to make the start on Wednesday.

Seth Maness

Maness started the season in the rotation at AAA Memphis and has worked in long relief since being called up on April 29th.  He's not too far removed from starting to probably go 4 or 5 innings and he has certainly pitched well during his brief time in the majors.

Carlos Martinez

Like Maness, Martinez was called up on April 29th.  However, he has only worked no more than one inning at a time and would probably need to be stretched out again.  With the recent injuries, it seems more likely that he will be sent down to AAA to be stretched out as a starter again.

Michael Wacha

This is what probably every Cardinal fan is hoping for.  After dominating during spring training, Wacha has been excellent at AAA with a 4-0 record and 1.89 ERA.  Cardinals fans want to see what he can do against major league pitching and he just might get his chance.


Bascially, I think the Cards have two options for Wednesday, go with a "start-by-committee" approach with Kelly and Maness splitting the first 6 innings of the game or go with Wacha.

The start-by-committee approach is not the ideal solution, as it can tax the bullpen and it certainly isn't a long-term solution.  Wacha might be the best bet, as he should only be needed for 2-3 starts before Westbrook returns.

I think the Wacha will get the call and that Martinez will be sent down to AAA to be stretched out again and give the Cardinals more depth at starter.  Wacha's last start was on May 16th, so keep an eye on Memphis' May 21st game, as that would be his next scheduled start.  If he doesn't make that start, chances are he's getting the call.

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