Cardinals fast starter Miles Mikolas knows the hitters will come out, loiter and try to slow his pace. But what made him angry on Thursday was when a referee helped him.
In the seventh inning of Game 1, with his team leading 3-0, Mikolas delivered a clean shot to Cubs outfielder Nelson Velazquez. Plate umpire Adam Hamari waived, not because Velazquez called time, but possibly because Velazquez was staring at his feet in the batter’s box. It cost Mikolas a strike – and the right-hander fumed as he pointed to the referee.
He called it “not my most professional moment”.
But he had a point to make.
“It’s one of those things where we talk a lot about pace of play: when is the batter going to get hit for pace of play?” Mikolas said after the Cardinals rallied to win, 4-3. “They took a strike away from me. Why not add a strike to the batter right there? He is not ready. Why are we penalizing the pitcher and taking a strike away from me by calling time out of nowhere? He didn’t call time. He looks down.
People also read…
Major League Baseball and the Players Union will decide in the near future whether the 2023 season will feature a pitch clock, limiting the time between pitches. Several minor leagues, including those where Class AAA Memphis plays, already have one. Veteran Cardinals clubhouse pitchers have suggested the rule is misnamed: It should be the “batter’s clock.”
Quick-working starters find themselves waiting for the batter to enter the box regularly when current rules limit when a batter can do so.
“If they want to call time, that’s cool,” Mikolas said. “But then when the shoe is on the other foot and the guy is looking at his feet and I throw a strike, the batter can call late and get it. I launch a strike, I do not understand. That’s what’s frustrating. »
Neither Mikolas nor manager Oliver Marmol were happy with Hamari’s explanation, and Marmol said irritation simmered in the dugout until the rally. Mikolas ignored or quickly sent two baseballs thrown by Hamari. But when he was retired that same inning, the veteran didn’t glance at Hamari or mumble a retort. Marmol praised the way Mikolas regained his composure – after unleashing a 97mph and 96mph fastball multiple times.
“At the end of the day, we’re talking about speeding up the game,” Marmol said. “The guy is in the box, call the field. Bottom line, the guy was in the box. Therefore, let’s play baseball.
Cards, Cubs answer London’s call
The oldest baseball rivalry between two teams that have never moved is going international. The Cardinals will host the Cubs for two games in London next June, the teams officially announced Thursday. The visit, originally scheduled for 2020 and canceled by the pandemic, will be played at the London Stadium on June 24 and 25. The Cardinals will be the home club for both.
Returning to London for the first time since the Yankees and Red Sox played there in 2019 will reinvigorate Major League Baseball’s initiative to venture into Europe and other non-traditional venues. A series in Paris is in the future.
“Talk about expanding the overall reach of the game,” Marmol said.
The London Stadium, home of West Ham United of the English Premiere League, was changed for the 2019 series and saw a large foul territory and a jubilee of runs. Officials said the setup will be slightly different for the Cardinals-Cubs after this dress rehearsal.
The Cardinals have previously played in neutral-site series in Hawaii and Monterrey, Mexico. The trip to London will be the longest in a travel schedule that will likely set a record for most air miles flown by the Cardinals. The London series comes at the end of a road trip that also includes stops to face the Mets and Washington, according to an early version of the 2023 schedule. The Cardinals also travel to Seattle for a series in 2023.
Montgomery report, look at the old team
Jordan Montgomery, the left-hander acquired from the New York Yankees for center fielder Harrison Bader, arrived in St. Louis in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader and quickly found a spot in the dugout alongside veteran Adam Wainwright. He later explained that he had “a lot to learn from Waino”. Montgomery, a 6-foot-6 starter, held a bullpen session for his new team on Thursday afternoon, which sets him up to start on Saturday — against his old team.
Montgomery was 3-3 in a team record 21 starts for the Yankees as they posted more than 70 wins and a lead in the dreadful American League East. He said facing this team will be “a little weird at first, but once I get out there and start competing, I’ll pass out and chase them.”
To make room for Montgomery on the active roster, the Cardinals moved to left-hander Zack Thompson in Class AAA Memphis.
Surgery ends VerHagen season
Drew VerHagen, the right-hander who made an offer in spring training to be part of the rotation, saw an inconsistent season come to an end on Wednesday when it was determined he would need surgery to treat persistent right hip pain. VerHagen will have a hip “cleanse” in the coming weeks, miss the rest of the season and prepare to return to the Cardinals in the spring.
He signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals to return from Japan.
VerHagen, 31, went 3-1 with a 6.65 ERA in 21⅔ innings spread over 19 relief appearances. He struck out 18, but also complicated those outings with 14 walks and five home runs allowed. The Cardinals were won over by his throwing metrics — data that suggested he had swing-and-miss fastball, speed and curveball that ranked alongside Adam Wainwright. What VerHagen lacked was the consistency to access these traits. He traced this to pain in his hip, which may also be related to shoulder pain.
“I think it was more limited in his ability to get out of the bullpen to go back to back and recover,” Marmol said. “The next day he felt much worse. There were times when he was rested and as he warmed up he felt it. At this point, it’s kinda stuck in your head as to how to overcompensate for it. And you can see the variability in what his fastball was doing.
Cardinals will see if the health delivers the results their data suggests.
“Get what we signed up for,” Marmol said.
Jack Flaherty (shoulder) will join the team Saturday in St. Louis so major league staff and athletic trainers can gauge his recovery and determine how soon he will begin a rehab assignment. The hope is that he will start imminently so he can develop his arm strength as a starter. Flaherty has started paddocks near his home in Los Angeles, and reports have been encouraging, Marmol said. Flaherty has been on the disabled list since June 27. … Fresh off eight innings of shutouts in Washington, Andre Pallante learned he would be sent back to the bullpen. But due to his performance in a pinch this season, the rotation could be in his long-term future. “I don’t want to limit it,” Marmol said. “He has the ability to be in our rotation, that’s for sure. From next year. »