In Friday’s Game 2 loss, St. Louis Cardinals fans looking for “silver linings” and positives from the 7-1 drubbing very likely will point to the Cardinals reliever that ended the game with a perfect frame. Down 7-1, manager Mike Matheny trotted the reliever many thought should have been off the playoff roster completely even though the Cardinals would not be in the playoffs without him.
Edward Mujica threw and needed just five pitches, all of which were strikes, to induce Pittsburgh into a pair of ground outs and a foul out to record a perfect ninth inning. The former closer has struggled badly recently. In his previous three appearances, Mujica tossed a total of one inning of work, allowing six hits, four earned runs, a walk and a home run. Friday was Mujica’s first good outing in as long as anybody can remember.
Unfortunately, it should be his last outing for a long time too.
Hopefully Matheny, who has proved to be every bit as loyal to his veterans as his predecessor Tony La Russa, does not think Mujica’s performance during mop-up time in Game 2 was a silver lining as well. Hopefully Matheny avoids the temptation of using Mujica in any spot more significant than the one he deployed him on Friday and if that situation arises again, the Cardinals will certainly be in a heap of trouble.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals can not afford to and should not trust Mujica in any situation with meaning. There are plenty of other options in the Cardinals bullpen, namely all of them, that should be utilized by Matheny instead.
This is not a Mujica bashfest. Lets make that clear. I love Edward Mujica. I think the Cardinals should consider bringing him back next season to give the bullpen a veteran leader.
Its just at this very point, with everything on the line, I can not trust him, and neither should Matheny. There is too much at stake.
Matheny likely will not use Mujica again in this series and I am likely overreacting, but I just hope, for the sake of a Cardinal Nation, that he avoids any temptation.
- Should the St. Louis Cardinals re-sign Edward Mujica? (stlsportsminute.com)
- St. Louis Cardinals: Joe Sheehan of Sports Illustrated on Michael Wacha, Mike Matheny and the NL MVP (stlsportsminute.com)