As the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets try to dodge rains, thunderstorms, flood threats and general weather mayhem on Monday, July 25th, the business of baseball continued as usual, albeit with disruptions.
The club’s charter plane includes sleeper-type seating but that does not mean all could sleep, despite the conditions on the flight reportedly being quiet. Several with whom I spoke said they actually slept better on the 90 minute shuttle between the airport and hotel than they did on the plane.
Manager Mike Matheny was most impressed that there was “no bickering, no complaining” about the numerous delays that kept his team in transit almost all night. Asked if he went out for breakfast upon reaching his hotel, the manager said that he went to bed. Who could blame him?
Matheny did not see the schedule challenges as a negative, noting these are “times you see a team’s character,” and that his “guys answer the bell.” The bumps include a Wednesday doubleheader, a 16-inning game on Saturday, Sunday’s evening contest followed by travel delays overnight.
Williams ready to eat innings
Newest Cardinal Jerome Williams was the first player in the Cardinals clubhouse, meeting up with his new team in the Big Apple. The 34-year-old learned of his promotion from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday night. Details on the moves here.
As suspected, Williams was added because “he can throw a lot of pitches,” Matheny said. The skipper noted he had been “working our guys hard” and see the “likelihood of needing arms is high.”
Footnote: With Monday’s rainout, Carlos Martinez’ second straight postponement, the Cardinals will need a Saturday starter in Miami. Williams, along with Tyler Lyons and Matt Bowman, could be a candidate. Unless/until the Cardinals disclose their plans early, we will have to monitor relief usage during the week for clues.
Three rehabs coming soon
Three starters are nearing their return to the lineup. Regarding minor league rehab stints for Brandon Moss and Matt Carpenter, the manager said he thought it would be “later this week.” In a follow on question, he said that Jhonny Peralta is on roughly the same schedule.
I asked him how they decide which minor league affiliates will receive the rehabbers. The answer was “convenience,” with home teams preferred.
Memphis is at home through Saturday, August 6 - with the exception of a four-game trip to Round Rock, Texas this Friday through Monday.
Springfield will be home for seven straight contests from Thursday the 28th through Wednesday, August 3.
Palm Beach is likely out of the question due to the distance. None of the three have been rehabbing in Florida apparently.
Peoria returns home this coming Saturday, July 30 for a full week, through Friday, August 5.
Therefore, Springfield seems the most likely initial destination, though if one or more are not ready until the weekend, opening in Peoria would not be out of the question. Starting next Wednesday, August 3, Memphis will be home for a four-game set, which could offer a final stop before returning to St. Louis.
If the rehabs run into the second week of August, Springfield would be the most likely location.
On the Aroldis Chapman trade to the Cubs
Matheny called the former Reds closer “well known,” adding that “we’re due to get him.” The last time the Cardinals scored a run against Chapman was in 2011.
On Mike Mayers
Matheny stressed the positive in his post-game discussion with the first-time starter, who was shelled by the Dodgers Sunday night. He reminded Mayers that he started the season at Double-A and it is a “big deal to start (in the majors) with all the talent” in the organization.
The manager noted that Mayers had “good observations” about what happened and of course, the manager shared his thoughts as well. Matheny noted that “he is a tough kid,” who “kept going as it unraveled” Sunday night.
A cleaner Cooney comp
The manager said that both he and GM John Mozeliak were reminded of Tim Cooney’s St. Louis debut when watching Mayers.
On April 30, 2015, Cooney started at home against the Phillies. It was not quite as painful, however, as the lefty was pulled in the third inning after giving up three runs. Returned to Triple-A for more seasoning, when Cooney returned in July, he was impressive. In five solid starts, he yielded just eight runs in 29 innings (2.48 ERA).
That was the last time Cooney pitched in a regular MLB game as his 2015 ended with a case of appendicitis. In case you missed it over the weekend, Cooney’s ongoing shoulder soreness in 2016 led to surgery, so the 24-year-old is done for 2016 – before pitching an official inning.
I will be back from the Big Apple with news from Tuesday's 4:10 p.m. ET doubleheader.
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