After I discussed the roster moves the Cards made earlier, the club just now announced that Dakota Hudson has been placed on the 10-day IL with what the Cards are calling a right forearm strain. He left last night’s start against the Pirates after only two innings pitched, pressing Austin Gomber into service earlier than expected. This puts Hudson out for the rest of the regular season, with a possibility that he might be added to a playoff roster at some point. While Hudson’s issue was initially described as an issue with his elbow, which prompted worries about possible Tommy John surgery, it is now described as a problem with his flexor tendon.
Crismatt was the only choice to bring up. He was already travelling with the club on the road as part of the 5-man taxi squad. Oveido had already been optioned and while he was theoretically a recall choice, he just started the 2nd game of a doubleheader on September 16th, and wouldn’t be available to pitch for a minimum of 2 days. With Daniel Ponce de Leon being added as the 29th man to start Game 2 of the doubleheader today, it was either Crismatt or Roel Ramirez, the only other 40-man pitcher. And since the club just decided to make this move about 25 minutes before game time, the club could not have done anything else but recall Crismatt, who was already with the club.
The question now is how the Cards’ rotation projects going forward. After today, the club has 10 games left over 9 days. Let’s take a look at what might happen:
9/16: Wainwright and Oviedo
9/18: Martinez and Ponce de Leon
9/25: Flaherty and Wainwright/Oviedo?
The big question is what the Cards will do with the start on September 22nd, which would have been Hudson’s turn in the rotation. They’re starting Ponce de Leon in the 2nd game of today’s doubleheader on 3 days of rest. The club could return Ponce to the taxi squad after the 2nd game of the doubleheader today, wait until September 22nd, option Junior Fernandez and recall Ponce again to make that start on 3 days of rest. Or Oviedo could be reaclled instead. Gomber could also get that start. The Cards then have a doubleheader against the Brewers on September 25th, and how the Cards handle those starts affects the final 2 games of the regular season. There are no easy answers, and might depend on whether the Cards have been knocked out of the playoff race by that point. They’re going to need 2 starters out of Ponce, Gomber and Oviedo due to the doubleheader with no days off. And none of this even factors in the possibility that the Cards might have to play a doubleheader against the Tigers on September 28th if playing those games would affect the playoff seeding.
If the Cards make the playoffs, they almost certainly will not have the luxury to set their rotation how they want it. Right now, they’ve got an 11-man pen to tide them over.