May 30th: Mitchell Boggs was the first reliever brought up from the minor leagues that actually ended up being the start of the “Call-Up Carousel” for the Cardinals. With Edward Mujica pitching in the four games prior to Michael Wacha‘s major league debut, the Cardinals knew that he would be unavailable to close out the game if necessary. Thus, when the time came to preserve Wacha’s first MLB victory, Matheny turned to Boggs in hopes of giving him a chance at success to gain confidence. However, he blew the save–allowing a home run and a walk in the only two batters that he faced. He was sent back to Triple-A Memphis for the second time this season after the performance.
Thankfully, the Cardinals were able to go four games without having to scrape down deep into their bullpen. This all changed in the marathon 14 inning game in which Seth Maness (2.1 innings), Trevor Rosenthal (2 innings), Mujica (2 innings), and Keith Butler (2 innings) were all called upon for extended appearances. All were successful, though, having scoreless outings which gave the Cardinals a chance to fully complete the comeback against the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, when the offense was unable to knock in the winning run, they had to turn to a familiar face in the top of the 14th.
June 4th/5th: Victor Marte had been recalled from Memphis to replace the ineffective Boggs, but he did not do much better. After the Cardinals’ offense worked its way back from a 6-1 deficit after a poor outing from Wacha, Marte blew the game in the top of the 14th inning. He pitched one inning, allowed two walks, and one run on a single by Paul Goldschmidt. Thus, he was sent down later that morning (since the extra-inning game ended past midnight).
June 5th: Maikel Cleto was given another chance to show the Cardinals that he was finally going to make the most of his talented arm. He is able to throw up to 100 MPH, but there are two problems with it. It is straight as an arrow so MLB hitters can make solid contact with it once they have it timed. He also lacks serious control with all of the pitches in his repertoire leading to too many BBs and HBPs. Joe Kelly, last night’s starter, left the game in the fifth with two runners and one out–an overall solid outing for Kelly. Well, Cleto hit the first batter he faced and then let up a grand-slam to Goldschmidt to break the game open–Arizona 7, St. Louis 1. Thus, that was Cleto’s seventh home run against in less than 16 innings pitched in his MLB career. His season earned-run average sits at 19.29, and if reports are true, he will be on his way back down to Memphis tomorrow.
Thus, what now? Who will be the fourth relief pitcher call-up for the Cardinals in just over one week?
It could be Marc Rzepczynski.
It could be Michael Blazek. (Will he get a chance to pitch this time at least?)
There is even an outside shot that it is Sam Freeman, but he is not really standing out down in Triple-A right now.
It probably won’t be Carlos Martinez, probably the most talented of the bunch, because the organization is trying to develop him into a starting pitcher at this time.
Thus, who is left to call up?
I hope he is the next, and hopefully, final “rider” of the “Call-Up Carousel” for a while. The Cardinals just need to survive until pitchers like Jake Westbrook, Chris Carpenter, and Fernando Salas are healthy enough to return to the mound.
Siegrist is a 6’5″ twenty-three year old left-handed pitcher who has split time between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis so far this season. In Springfield, Siegrist pitched in 13 games (20.0 innings pitched) with a record of 1-1 while racking up 35 strikeouts to just 7 walks. He held hitters to a .121 batting average and had a quality 2.25 earned-run average. In Memphis, he was successful as well. In five games, he completed seven and one-third innings, allowed just one earned-run, and held hitters to a .111 batting average. His biggest asset is the fact that batters just flat-out have a hard time making contact with his pitches. This is apparent by the amount of strikeouts he has had at both levels and the low batting averages against him.
1. Fastball that can touch 94 MPH and has an excellent tailing action.
2. Changeup that ranges from 80 to 83 MPH and looks identical to his fastball out of his hand.
3. Slider that sweeps across the plate at 76-78 MPH.
The Cardinals need to just be able to stop the bleeding until some of their other pitchers get healthy. I hope that Kevin Siegrist is their next choice. We will find out in a couple hours.
Until next time…