With Steven Matz injured, Cardinals rotation in precarious position
With Steven Matz injured, the St. Louis Cardinals rotation is in a precarious position as it waits to see how long the left-hander is out.
We don’t know how long Steven Matz will be out. All we know is that he was removed after throwing only four pitches on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a shoulder injury that will require an MRI and has the St. Louis Cardinals organization holding its collective breath that it’s not serious.
With Jack Flaherty already out, and the rotation lacking depth to begin with, it puts them in a precarious position. Especially if Matz’s injury is indeed serious. And that’s where replacing him potentially gets complicated.
The good news for the Cardinals, however, is that they have a strong internal option: Matthew Liberatore. He just made his major-league debut this past weekend and like Matz, is a left-hander, but he allowed four runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings against the Pirates. He’s a significant part of their future rotation plans and figures to grow into a household name before too long.
Besides Liberatore, the options are limited. Angel Rondon, who relieved Matz and pitched into the fifth inning, has made 76 career starts and could be an option if Matz requires a short-term stint on the Injured List. If he’s out an extended period, the Cardinals could turn to the trade market where there will be no shortage of options, with the potential available high-end starters being Frankie Montas and Nathan Eovaldi (if the Red Sox decide to sell, of course).
For now, the Cardinals will wait for the results of Matz’s MRI. But even then, he’s been largely a disappointment since signing a four-year, $44 million contract this winter, as he has posted a 6.03 ERA in nine starts (37.1 innings). The Cardinals have remained optimistic about him turning things around, as his past success with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets would indicate he’s meaningfully better than he has shown in St. Louis.
Now they hope Matz is back soon so he can prove he can do that. We should know more soon.