Garcia to the DL: Left Shoulder Strain

By Craig Phelps

After one of Jamie Garcia’s more impressive starts during his 2010 rookie season Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright gave him a very sincere tip of the cap.  They both made statements to members of the press, myself included, along the lines of, “This kid is as good as us.”

Carpenter, a former Cy Young winner, and Wainwright, a should be Cy Young winner, have an incredible amount of respect for this 25 year old left hander.  He’s a five pitch hurler with an eye towards the groundball out.

This 22nd round pick of the 2005 amateur draft stormed onto the scene with a 2.70 ERA in 2010 and rocked a 3.56 ERA during the Cardinals 2011 World Series Championship season.  He has slipped to a 4.48 ERA this year, but one fact remains; Jamie Garcia has the capability of being a truly dominant pitcher.

Of course, the development of this 25 year old pitcher cannot go as planned; at least, not in a 2012 season that has seen more injuries than Albert Pujols has homeruns.  Jamie Garcia, my friends, is heading for the 15 day disabled list with a left shoulder strain.

Garcia had let up a combined ten earned runs in his previous two starts, including his previous two inning outing on June 5th against the Astros in which he allowed six runs in just two innings.  The Cardinal’s Manager Mike Matheny had moved his starters up a day to provide Garcia with an extra would-be-start’s day of rest once the hurler began complaining of shoulder pain.  The Mexico said after his last start that he did not feel right, a statement that was incredibly obvious.

Garcia joins pitchers Chris Carpenter (right shoulder, no appearances), Scott Linebrink (inflammation in right shoulder, no appearances), and Kyle McClellan (strained flexor pronator, slight tear of right UCL, 0-1, 5.30 ERA, 18.2 IP) on the disabled list.

It appears time for the Cardinal’s to dive back into their precious minor league system and risk halting the development of yet another talented young pitcher.  A roll of the dice shows that either Joe Kelly or Brandon Dickson will be the next to hop on a plane to the Gateway City.

While he may only post up a 2-5 record in 12 games, Kelly has been nothing short of dominant for the Memphis Redbirds this season.  He leads the Triple-A starters in ERA (2.86), innings pitched (72.1), homeruns allowed (2), hits per nine innings (9.3), and is WHIP (1.327 behind Dickson’s 1.280).

The issue that arises with Kelly is simply one of experience.  This is where Dickson comes into play.

While Kelly may have the more dominating numbers this season, Dickson’s 3.27 ERA in 52.1 innings and team leading 2.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio among starters is rather impressive itself.  He is, numbers wise, the second best pitcher on residing in Memphis.

The one thing that really tilts the table towards the 27 year old Alabama, Native is the fact that he has Major League experience.  Dickson has made a total of six appearances for the Cardinals over a two year stretch, throwing a total of 10.2 innings with a 2.53 ERA.

In 2011, Dickson appeared in four games and made one major league start totaling a combined 8.1 innings.  He allowed a total of three earned runs while striking out seven of the 34 batters he faced.  His lone start came on September 1st in an 8-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.  Dickson went just 3.1 innings allowing two homeruns and earning three earned runs all together to the sixteen batters he faced; he received a no decision.

In 2012, Dickson has made just two appearances thus far totaling 2.1 innings, but he has yet to allow an earned run; an unearned run did cross the plate under his watch during his last outing on May 24th against the Philadelphia Phillies.

However abbreviated it may be, an incredibly youthful, inexperienced Cardinal’s roster, thanks to that pesky injury bug, will probably be the cause of Dickson receiving the nod over Kelly.

Those anxious to see Shelby Miller make his Major League debut within the next week should not get their hopes up.

Miller is .500 with a 5.18 ERA in 57.1 innings and has allowed a team-high 12 homeruns this season.  It is likely that Cardinal’s General Manager will leave the 21 year old prospect in Memphis for more seasoning.  With that being said, a September call-up for Miller is not too farfetched of a tale.

The St. Louis Cardinals have stood on a soap box and preached organizational depth for the past few years.  Now is the time for Mozeliak and his staff to shine.  Now is the time to see what the foundation of Cardinal Nation is truly built upon.

If the Birds on the Bat can win an eleventh World Series title after being down by 10.5 games at the end of August then surely a few, or more injuries than your two hands can count, will not hold refrain them from entering the postseason.

Quick Hitters

Game day InfoThe St. Louis Cardinals (29-28) remain in Houston for the rubber match of a three game series against the Astros (24-32).  Last night saw a pitcher’s duel between Adam Wainwright (5-6) and Bud Norris (5-3) go in favor of the Cardinals via a 4-3 decision.  Tonight’s match-up features Lance Lynn (8-2, 6.3 ERA) on the mound for the Red Birds and J.A. Happ (4-5, 4.31 ERA) taking the hill for the Astros.  It’s a 7:05pm CST start and can be found locally in St. Louis on 1120 KMOX and Fox Sports Midwest.

Starting Lineup – Furcal (6), Beltran (9), Holliday (7), Craig (3), Freese (6), Molina (2), Greene (4), Robinson (4), Lynn (1).

Craig Ain’t Liein’ – Allen Craig hit his second homerun in three games during last night’s victory over the Astros.  The Cardinals are 5-2 when Craig has hit one of his seven homers in just eighteen games this season.  Craig, who is has as many long bombs as walks, is hitting .366 with a .420 on-base percentage with 24 RBI’s; that means he is averaging 1.3 RBI’s a game.

Robinson Settling In – Filling the shoes of a versatile and incredibly productive player like Jon Jay can be an incredibly challenging task, yet Shane Robinson is filling Jay’s shoes and then some.  Robinson is hitting .375 over the last seven days; two starts, four appearances, eight at-bats, with three hits and a double.  Over the past fourteen days, Robinson is hitting .353; four starts, nine appearances, seventeen at-bats plus one sacrifice fly, with two RBI’s, and two doubles.

Cardinal Nation Respect – The Cardinals have a long history of doing things the “right way;” doing things the “Cardinal Way.”  This was taken to the next level when John Mozeliak and the Cardinal’s drafted Tate Matheny, son of Mike Matheny, in the 23rd round and Eduardo Oquendo, son of Jose Oquendo, in the 32nd round of this year’s draft.  Tate, who has been scouted as an incredibly athletic outfielder, is expected to go the college route and attend Missouri State as a freshman during this upcoming fall semester.

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