The St. Louis Cardinals have been searching for any consistency in their rotation and on Monday night, Wade LeBlanc looked good in his first start.
The St. Louis Cardinals need help in their rotation and have gotten semi-desperate for options. This desperation led them to journeyman lefty Wade LeBlanc.
LeBlanc, 36, has been in the MLB for 13 years. After starting the year with the Baltimore Orioles, the lefty was let go after allowing seven earned runs in just 6.2 innings.
After LeBlanc was brought into St. Louis, he started as a long reliever out of a tired Cardinals bullpen. When he showed he could handle the load back there and all other options for starters were depleted, the Cardinals turned to LeBlanc for a starter’s job.
Somewhat surprisingly, LeBlanc looked pretty good in his first outing on the hill. Facing off against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks helped, but over 4.1 innings, LeBlanc allowed just one run on a solo shot. He went from a long reliever role to immediately stretching out to 71 pitches on Monday. Most importantly, LeBlanc threw strikes. Of his 71 pitches, 47 were in the zone and he walked only one batter.
In a shocking turn of events, a lack of run support and his early exit kept LeBlanc from earning the win, but that isn’t what the Cardinals were looking for out of LeBlanc. They needed innings and they needed a chance, and that is exactly what LeBlanc gave the team.
How long LeBlanc stays in the rotation is still up in the air, but with the Cardinals’ recent stretch and slump, anything positive in the rotation is worth a celebration, no matter how small and honestly no matter the opponent.
The Cardinals will need much more than just one strong start from one fringe player to get back in the race for the National League Central. However, LeBlanc works just fine as a stop-gap starter for now until more players are brought in or people get healthy.