Injuries have plagued the starting rotation for the Cardinals. This year, the only two consistent starters are Waino and Lynn. Together, they are carrying the Cardinals. This week, bad news was delivered to fans about the prospects of key members of the rotation.
1) Jaime Garcia
Garcia has been out the better half of this season due to nerve issues in his pitching arm, shoulder, and hand. He announced, on his 28th birthday, that he will be undergoing surgery to remove one of the ribs where the issues start. Conservative estimates project that Garcia will recover in three months—meaning he is out for the season.
2) Michael Wacha
One of the biggest let downs this year is probably the loss of Wacha. The Cardinals’ fiery rookie took the league by storm in last year’s NLCS, winning the MVP. He was 5-5 this season with a 2.79 ERA before placement on the DL. This week, the Cardinals learned that his shoulder injury shows progress, but not enough to continue pitching yet. Doctors are not sure exactly when Wacha will be able to rejoin the rotation.
3) Joe Kelly
Kelly was placed in the DL in the middle of April. A rare injury to his hamstring has kept him in rehab, pitching about four innings or so at a time. He is projected to be put back into the rotation either this week or after the All Star break. The Cardinals are in dire need of a dependable starting pitcher meaning his return will be crucial to the Cards’ success the remainder of the season.
So, how bad is it? It is hard to argue that the situation is TOO bad for the Cardinals. They are now only four games behind the Brewers and one and a half up on the Pirates. If Wacha and Kelly come back after the All Star break, stay healthy over the season, and continue to perform, the Brewers won’t be first in the NL Central for much longer.