After left-hander Jaime Garcia struggled through 51 pitches in just two innings on Monday in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 12-4 National League Division Series win over Washington, he was pulled from the game.
Only then did Garcia report a return of shoulder discomfort, which he had felt in a recent bullpen session, but apparently did not share with anyone. He had missed two months of the season with a tear and was sent to get an MRI after leaving Monday’s game.
The question moves to how to replace Garcia on the roster for the rest of the NLDS and perhaps beyond. Garcia then could not be activated until the World Series, although one might assume his season is over.
How would you fill the need? The Cardinals currently have 12 pitchers and 13 position players on their NLDS roster. Here are some of the most prominent players initially left off.
Shelby Miller started the final regular-season game and pitched well, a continuation of his good work since his MLB debut. As a starter by background, Miller could work more innings as a middle reliever, replacing Lance Lynn, who seems primed to step into the rotation for Garcia.
Sam Freeman was sent to Arizona, where the Fall League begins today. Of course, he could return to the majors and has the advantage of being left-handed. Freeman would become the second situational left-hander out of the pen. Obviously, neither he nor Miller, as rookies, are playoff-tested.
Victor Marte was also left off the post-season roster and has appeared in 78 MLB games, though none in October.
Jake Westbrook is not ready to pitch and is away from the club while his wife is giving birth.