Joey 'Bombs' Mather en-route to St. Louis?

The Cardinals have not indicated that there are any plans to send struggling Chris Duncan to Memphis, but as rumors circulate around AutoZone Park in Memphis late Thursday night, that Joe Mather may be heading to St. Louis this weekend, Duncan seems to be the most likely candidate to get sent down to Triple-A.

Chris Duncan came through for the Cardinals Thursday night, with a two-run single in the first inning, to give St. Louis an early 2-0 lead, before they went on to win the rubber game of a three-game set, 3-2, against their division rivals, the Houston Astros. But it may be little too little, too late.

The struggling outfielder, left the game without talking to reporters, which may suggest, that he has already gotten the word, that he's on his way down to Memphis.

The Cardinals looking to add some pop in the lineup, to protect Albert Pujols, have been slow to realize that they are not getting the production from Chris Duncan this season that they need.

Prior to Thursday's game, over his last 250+ plate appearances, dating back to last summer, he has just five home runs and a .324 slugging percentage. In his last 33 games, according to, he's been even worse, hitting just .216 and slugging .307 with only two homers in 88 at-bats.

Now that he's regularly facing abuse from the St. Louis fans and bloggers and the rest of the outfield is hitting well, it would seem reasonable to send him to Triple-A Memphis to work out his problems.

Rumors circulating around AutoZone Park in Memphis, late Thursday night, that Joe Mather is on his way to St. Louis, may have actually have some merit this time.

Joey "Bombs" Mather, as he is affectionately known, first caught the attention of most Cardinal fans last season, when he started the year at Double-A Springfield, where he hit .303 with 18 homers and 46 RBIs in 64 games before being promoted to Memphis, where he hit .241 with 13 home runs and 31 RBI in 70 games for the Redbirds.

Swinging one of the hottest and most powerful bats in the Cardinals farm system this season, Mather is hitting .315 with 12 home runs and 24 RBIs, through his first 34 games, after missing playing time in April, due to a sore lower back.

It was just 12 days ago, that rumors were circulating that Mather was going to get the called up to St. Louis, to replace Rick Ankiel, who at the time, there had been some speculation that Rick would go on the disabled list, because of right shoulder discomfort.

That could still be the case, if Ankiel is still experiencing some discomfort in his shoulder, it could be Rick that Mather would replace, if Mather is actually getting the call up.

The Cardinals added Mather to the Cardinals 40-Man Roster, November 20, 2007, so if they have to bring him up to replace Ankiel or Duncan, that won't be an issue. Selected by the Cardinals in the third round (104th overall) of the June, 2001 First-Year Player Draft, it's taken Mather some time to get to this point, but he's ready now.

If the Cardinals aren't calling Mather up this weekend, they should. This month the slugger is hitting, .311 with 10 home runs and 18 RBIs in 27 games played. Joe's line on the month is, .311/.388/.709/1.097 (BA, OBP, SLG, OPS), very impressive for a slugger, and just what the doctor has ordered for the St. Louis lineup.

The Cardinals signed Mather to a one-year contract (probably his last one year contract for awhile)on March 4, 2008. If the Cardinals want Mather around for 2009 and beyond, my take is. they are going to have to give him some playing time in St. Louis this season.

If the Cardinals can't read the writing on the wall by now that it's time to call up Mather and send Duncan down, I may have to go out and get some bigger chalk.

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