Cardinals: Why Alex Reyes, not Giovanny Gallegos pitched in ninth inning
Why Alex Reyes, not Giovanny Gallegos pitched in ninth inning in the St. Louis Cardinals’ devastating wild card loss.
The bullpen gates swung open in Los Angeles, with the Cardinals and Dodgers tied at 1 in the ninth inning in the National League wild card game, and out came … Alex Reyes?
The move was confusing at the time because Reyes, the Cardinals’ once-dominant right-handed reliever, was borderline un-pitchable in the second half of the season. His erratic control was somehow worse. He was surrendering the long ball at a high rate. So when Chris Taylor smashed a game-winning three-run homer, ending the Cardinals season and sending them back to St. Louis, many fans wondered: where was Giovanny Gallegos?
Well, here’s your answer. Gallegos split a nail warming up in the eighth inning, according to Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, and was unable to pitch the ninth. He continued to warm up, though it was merely a deke to force Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to burn Gavin Lux, knowing that Albert Pujols was on-deck and struggles against right-handed pitchers.
Not having Gallegos proved costly for the Cardinals and, in all likelihood, their season came to an abrupt end because of an issue with a fingernail. What other sport can something like that happen? Either way, what was a magical season for the Cardinals should not be viewed any different even after a devastating wild card loss. To win 17 consecutive games, and make the playoffs despite having a less than two percent chance of doing so, is an incredible feat.
But the Cardinals enter this offseason with plenty of questions, perhaps none more pressing than what to do with Reyes. Do you move him to the rotation after he fell apart in the second half of the season? There is almost no way for the team to justify that. His future is increasingly likely to be in the bullpen — a role that he has thrived in at times and should only get better as he gets more experience.
That doesn’t make the wild card loss any easier, though, and it’s surely going to sting Reyes and the organization all winter.