Down Goes Jaime, Down Goes Jaime!

by on October 9, 2012 · 2 comments

Jaime Garcia departed yesterday’s NLDS game after just 2 innings and 51 pitches.  Though he appeared to labor through those 2 innings, his command and control didn’t appear all that bad, and his velocity seemed normal.  He just seemed ineffective in giving up an earned run, 2 hits, and 3 walks.  It was not until much later that Cardinal fans learned that Jaime had been sent for an MRI with results to be reported this morning.

Wait, what?

Was the discomfort, soreness, and/or pain present before the start?  Did he alert anyone within the organization that he felt any of the aforementioned symptoms?  Did the problem manifest itself after he started the game?  Does it really only take an owl 3 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?  Do owls even like candy?

Regardless of the answer to any or all of the posed questions, someone has some explaining to do.  If Jaime took the mound knowing he was not at 100%, then he obviously had a professional and ethical obligation to inform someone.  If the Cardinals let Jaime pitch knowing he was not at 100%, then the team owes someone an explanation.  If Jaime started feeling discomfort of any kind during the game, he should have made it abundantly clear to someone.

Even if the MRI comes back negative, the Cardinals and Garcia have just opened the distraction box that need not be opened.  Ever.  Jaime’s status for the remainder of the series remains uncertain.  If the Cardinals must sit Jaime due to injury, then they also have to make a quick move to replace him on the roster.  No issue there, but doing so would eliminate Jaime from consideration for a roster spot in all other series during the playoffs.

Replacing Jaime in the starting rotation may be as easy as picking between Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.  Replacing Jaime on the roster may be a different matter altogether.  Shelby Miller makes sense in terms of giving the team another long reliever, but he provides unnecessary redundancy in terms of what he offers in that role.  With potentially 2 of 3 from the trio of Lynn, Kelly, and Rosenthal already available it would be a luxury to have Miller available.   On the other hand, Sam Freeman could provide the team with a situational lefty out of the bullpen, but he doesn’t offer the same utility as Miller.  Given that the Cardinals now find themselves in a best 2 of 3 series in Washington, I would pick Freeman over Miller as an option to face guys like Bryce Harper in middle to late game situations.  Just my preference.

Speaking of a 2 of 3 series, it would be unfortunate to characterize the split in St. Louis as a disappointment.  The Cardinals brought their “D” game to the series opener and still almost beat the Nationals with Gio Gonzalez starting.  The Nationals have so far looked a bit tight especially on defense, and keeping the pressure on by pounding both Jordan Zimmermann and the bullpen yesterday should not be undervalued.

The Cardinals also are set up to face Edwin Jackson in game 3.

St Louis Cardinals vs Edwin Jackson:

Washington Nationals vs Chris Carpenter:

TIDBIT:  While Jaime’s velocity was pretty much unchanged from his previous start, his release point was much more erratic and drifted along the vertical axis several inches.

MORE TID:  Jon Jay’s ridiculous catch in which an outfield wall collided with him was outstanding.  Much like the catch Werth made to rob Descalso of a home run, it was beautiful for the sheer effort involved.  Jay may not have the reputation of a Michael Bourn or Torii Hunter, but he deserves some attention for his glove work.

FINAL BIT OF TID:  Nice to see Daniel Descalso attempt to pull the ball against Stammen.  One unfortunate byproduct of trying to slap the ball to the opposite field at times is that there is a tendency to lose a little bat speed in the process.  His home run wasn’t the product of trying to muscle up, rather he took a free and easy swing with the intention of driving the ball.  In my opinion, that’s exactly the kind of approach a player with “occasional power” should take.

Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more question about owls and candy!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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TheRealAaron October 9, 2012

Re: Jaime not reporting his injury?

I love Chris Carpenter. He’s the ultimate badass, grind-it-out competitor. Everyone talks about what a huge influence he is on the whole clubhouse, especially the younger players.

But isn’t “downplaying your injury and pitching anyway” a total Carpenter thing? Is that part of the lessons he’s teaching the young guys along with the positive things?

Dennis October 9, 2012

I agree completely about Carp. The only difference here is that Carp’s history includes making the team aware of soreness, stiffness, discomfort, and pain when it could impact his performance. He could easily have hidden a few things and nobody noticed/complained, but then it probably didn’t limit him to 2 innings, either. In order to downplay an injury, you must first report it. I think that’s where Jaime made a mistake.

If Matheny had known about how Garcia felt, he could have raised the level of awareness within the team and had a pinch hitter on standby and Lynn on notice to being ready to warm up early. The last thing a team and manager need at this point is an injury going untreated. Had Garcia told someone, he could have potentially received some treatment before making the start.

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