The previous week in MLB was about a manager in the National League being relieved of his duties, a starting pitcher in the American League being placed on the disabled list, and a pitcher needing season-ending surgery.
St. Louis Cardinals Fire Manager Mike Matheny, Hire Bench Coach Mike Shildt As Interim Manager
The St. Louis Cardinals made a shocking move late Saturday night as they fired manager Mike Matheny, including hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller.
The Cardinals have hired bench coach Mike Shildt to be their interim manager, per an announcement by the team.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 15, 2018
The move was shocking as it took place with the team in the middle of series and the All-Star Break coming up.
The Cardinals haven’t played well during the 2018 campaign as they have accumulated a 48-46 record and sit third in the National League Central division.
The ownership for the Cardinals expected more from the club and decided it was best to go with a new manager moving forward.
Matheny was a great skipper for the Cardinals early in his tenure, but over the last couple of seasons, it’s been a struggle, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Mike Matheny’s time as Cardinals manager offered its highs and lows. pic.twitter.com/MK6doUcZXz
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 15, 2018
He posted a .579 winning percentage in his first four years with the team, which include making the playoffs in each of those years and winning the NL pennant in 2013.
However, Matheny has compiled a .518 winning percentage over the last three years, and the Cardinals have missed the postseason in each year.
Shildt will manage the team for the rest of the season, but he might not be the long-term solution for the team’s manager.
It’s possible that Joe Girardi is someone the Cardinals will consider hiring during the offseason. Girardi has a history with Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and is familiar with the organization, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
You don’t have to wonder. Joe Girardi will be considered.
He has a history with Mozeliak, and good rapport. He has the familiarity with organization that the #Cardinals value, and there is a fondness for him already in the club. One question is his interest-level. #stlcards https://t.co/OX1v3pWd7k
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) July 15, 2018
The team does have some talent on the major league roster, and it’s possible they make a run at a playoff spot in the second half.
Seattle Mariners Place Starting Pitcher James Paxton on Disabled List with Lower Back Inflammation
The Seattle Mariners will be without the best pitcher in their rotation for hopefully not too long as they placed starter James Paxton on the 10-day disabled list with lower back inflammation, per Greg Johns of MLB.com.
Mariners place James Paxton on 10-day DL with lower back inflammation and option Gordon Beckham and Nick Rumbelow to Tacoma. Recall Christian Bergman to start tonight’s game and also Mike Minor and Casey Lawrence to beef up bullpen.
— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) July 13, 2018
Paxton was forced to leave his last start early, and with the All-Star break coming up, it was a smart move to put him on the DL.
The left-hander has compiled a 3.70 ERA in 119 1/3 innings with 155 strikeouts, 33 walks, a 3.14 FIP and an 11.7 SO/9.
Paxton has been the driving force in their rotation and a significant reason the team has played exceptionally well during the first half of the season.
The Mariners don’t believe this is going to be an issue moving forward and the team already planned to push Paxton back anyway. He’s expected to start the fourth game of second half against the San Francisco Giants, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
#Mariners good news. Paxton (lower back stiffness) who exited after 2/3rds of IP Thur. Dipoto told me he’ll go on DL, but plan was with AS break and IP build up to push back anyway. Sked to start v. #SFGiants 4th game of 2d half. Dipoto: “We don’t think it is a lingering issue.”
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 13, 2018
The club will need Paxton healthy to have a successful second half of the season.
Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitcher Garrett Richards Needs to Undergo Tommy John Surgery
The Los Angeles Angels will be without starting pitcher Garrett Richards for the rest of the 2018 season.
Richards has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery after an MRI early in the week showed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, per Maria Guardado of MLB.com.
Garrett Richards has opted for Tommy John surgery.
— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) July 12, 2018
Richards has posted a 3.66 ERA in 76 1/3 innings with 87 strikeouts, 34 walks surrendered, 11 home runs allowed and a 4.11 FIP in 2018.
Richards plans to return to the mound in 2020, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
Garrett Richards has set the 2020 season as a target return date. His surgery with Dr. ElAttrache is tentatively set for July 24. Said the tear was a similar one to his previous UCL damage.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) July 12, 2018
He will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The loss of Richards for the remainder of the season is a monstrous blow to the Angels. They were counting on him to anchor the rotation.
The other reason this injury hurts the Angels is that Richards could have been used to improve their farm system by trading him to a contender.
It’s a tough ordeal when a pitcher has to undergo Tommy John surgery but, hopefully, Richards comes back strong in 2020.