Since Adam Wainwright started tonight’s game against the Chicago Cubs, he is unable to pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Thus, Edward Mujica has been named to replace his spot on the team. Don’t worry, though, Wainwright will still be making the trip to New York to enjoy the All-Star festivities with his teammates.
Season Recap thus far:
At the beginning of the season, who in Cardinal Nation had Mujica making the National League All-Star team? If you found yourself nodding your head or raising your hand, you are most likely lying.
When Jason Motte went down before the season, I will be honest, I was really worried. The St. Louis Cardinals had finally found a reliable closer in Motte, and now he was out for the season.
Who was going to take his place? Well, as we will never forget, the team started with Mitchell Boggs–the reliable set-up man from last season. We know how that turned out. Soon after Boggs’ implosion, fans cried out for Trevor Rosenthal to get his chance as closer.
Well, the Cardinals decided that last year’s deadline deal, Edward Mujica, was the guy for the job, and 92 games into the season, he has not looked back.
Mujica has pitched in 40 games this season, and he is an impressive 26 for 27 on save opportunities (96.3%)–good enough for second in the National League in saves. He is averaging just under eight strikeouts per nine innings and has an amazing 17:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Opposing hitters are batting just a measly .186 against him
Now, a Brief Tangent on Sabermetrics:
@elmaquino (one of the best follows on Twitter–so go follow him!), introduced me to a sabermetrics statistic called SIERA. SIERA stands for Skill-Interactive ERA. It is a pretty complicated statistic so to simplify, it basically tells you that strikeouts are good and walks are bad. Well, duh. It also takes into account balls in play–the higher the ground ball rate of a pitcher, the more outs the defense will likely get which ultimately leads to less runs scored. Well, according to Fangraphs, an excellent SIERA is anything less than 2.90. So far this season, Mujica’s SIERA is 2.63! Thus, according to this statistic, his performance this year can be considered even better than excellent.
Yadier Molina is widely considered as the first-half MVP of the National League. Matt Carpenter should be getting consideration for this award as well based on his performance in the lead-off spot and his easy transition to second base. Wainwright has been the ace of the starting rotation and is in contention for the Cy Young Award. Rosenthal has been a lights-out set-up man, and he has shown the organization that he is likely the closer of the future.
All four of these players have been huge for the Cardinals, but let’s be honest, where would the Cardinals be right now without Mujica? Sure, Rosenthal could have stepped in as closer and dominated, but who would have pitched the eighth then? Would Mujica have been just as successful as the set-up man as he has been as the closer? We will never know, and we do not really need to find out since both have excelled in their current roles.
Thus, since Mujica has done so much for the team this season, it is only right for him to be in the All-Star Game. Could Rosenthal have taken Waino’s spot as well? Sure, but Mujica was the guy Wainwright promoted to take his spot. Rosenthal is just 23 years old, and I am positive that he will make his fair share of All-Star appearances in the future.
Make sure to check out the All-Star Game on Tuesday at 7:00 PM Central on FOX.
Mujica blew tonight’s save, so he is now 26/28 on the season which is still more than respectable. It is ironic that Wainwright promoted Mujica to take his spot, considering Mujica’s two blown saves have kept Wainwright from being a 14 game winner. Then again, that just shows how great of a teammate and leader Waino is for the Cardinals.
Until next time…