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Edward Mujica is getting a break from the closer role

Sep 21, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

Edward Mujica Getty Getty Images

Here’s something you don’t want to hear if you are a Cardinals fan. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals closer Edward Mujica admitted yesterday that fatigue has caused him to alter his mechanics.

“My body feels like a little bit tired, and my release point is getting a little bit up,” Mujica said. “My thinking in my mind I’ve set it to get to the playoffs. One more month. Right now, I don’t want to think about (fatigue). Let’s finish it off, these nine games, and then if we make the playoffs think about the playoffs.”

Mujica has been a revelation out of the closer role for most of the season, posting a 1.73 ERA through the end of August, but he has allowed seven runs on 15 hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings this month. He spotted the faulty mechanics during a video session yesterday, but it didn’t make an immediate impact, as he was yanked in the middle of a save chance against the Brewers. John Axford ended up bailing him out while the Cardinals won in 10 innings.

Mujica missed some time in August due to muscle tightness in his neck/back area and received anti-inflammatory medication, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny insists that he’s healthy right now. Still, it’s clear that something isn’t right.

With a division to wrap up and the postseason rapidly approaching, this could be the time to give Trevor Rosenthal a shot in the ninth inning. The 23-year-old fireballer has a 2.73 ERA and 103/20 K/BB ratio over 72 1/3 innings this season. He ranks fourth among relievers (min. 60 IP) with 12.82 K/9.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Mujica has been removed from the closer role for the next few days and perhaps longer.

  1. okwhitefalcon - Sep 21, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    From John Mozeliak via Fox Sports Midwest twitter.

    “FOX Sports Midwest ‏@FSMidwest
    Moz on the closer spot: “we have to do something different”. Says they’re considering options.”

  2. okwhitefalcon - Sep 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    And this from Buster Olney:

    “Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
    Mujica is being relieved of the closer duties for at least the next few days, perhaps longer.”

  3. gibbyfan - Sep 21, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Mujica has been an unexpected blessing for the Cards this year. When Mott and Boggs, not to mention Scrabble, couldnt fill that role he really stepped up. I am still not sure how he emerged out of nowhere or how good he really is , but obviously the Cards are going to once again pull a rabbit out of the hat but I think they have a couple of guys who could do it…..I like the young lefty with the sub 1 ERA

    • okwhitefalcon - Sep 21, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Sounds like it’s “by committee” from this point forward:

      Per MLB Cards beat writer Jenifer Langosch:

      #stlcards won’t use Mujica tonight. Closer spot fluid moving forward. Several candidates to pitch 9th; game situations to dictate direction.”

  4. fearlessleader - Sep 21, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    “Here’s something you don’t want to hear if you are a Cardinals fan….”

    To tell the truth, I’m sort of relieved, if only because Mujica’s comments forced Matheny’s hand. It’s been clear for weeks that Mujica wasn’t right, but Matheny has remained stubbornly loyal to him, trotting him out in every bloody save situation even when he had obviously better options. The Cards have a wealth of strong young arms in the bullpen, and hey, they won their last two World Series in the midst of closer-related turmoil, so this is nothing new!

    • okwhitefalcon - Sep 21, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      Relieved here as well, Mujica’s been trending south for a while.

    • spudchukar - Sep 22, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Baseball decisions need to be made on the merit system, not by tenure. Mujica’s early season success was a God-send, and that earned him a few more opportunities, but it is time for a change and a Rosenthal/Seagrist combo sounds about right to me.

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