How has Steven Matz's injury affected the Cardinals? Exploring possible starting rotation options for St. Louis amid hot streak

How has Steven Matz
How has Steven Matz's injury affected the Cardinals? Exploring possible starting rotation options for St. Louis amid hot streak

The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled to get their rotation in order while they await Steven Matz's return. The pitcher went on the injured list about three weeks ago with a back issue, and they've tried to find replacements unsuccessfully. Matthew Liberatore has been their go-to pitcher, but he hasn't been very good.

With the Cardinals suddenly on a hot streak and climbing the NL standings toward a playoff position, it is much more important that they find a good fifth starter until Matz can return.

The ailing pitcher was just cleared to begin throwing the ball a few days ago, which means he's on track to return, but that return won't be in the near future. The injury has really affected their rotation, but there are solutions in the short term while they try to continue winning while waiting for Matz.


What the Cardinals can do while they await Steven Matz's return

Matthew Liberatore's time as a starter would probably end soon if St. Louis Cardinals fans had their way. The young pitcher has a 5.40 ERA and is walking almost four batters per nine innings and only striking out seven.

Matthew Liberatore has struggled this year
Matthew Liberatore has struggled this year

There are a couple of options here. First, they can check the veteran free agent market. Of course, the options there are slim at this stage of the season, but there are players like Julio Teheran (who pitched for the New York Mets this year), Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Urias, Zack Greinke, Rich Hill, Collin McHugh and others.

Liberatore is young and only has two years of MLB experience, including 2024. With that said, the answer might be a different young pitcher. The Cardinals have Tink Hence waiting in the minors. He's in AA, but he's their top prospect overall.

Tekoah Roby (fourth), Cooper Hjerpe (sixth), Gordon Graceffo (eighth), Sem Robberse (12th), Max Rajcic (13th), Michael McGreevy (14th) or Adam Kloffenstein (16th) could come up and give it a shot as the fifth starter in 2024.

For now, the Cardinals are winning. That might not continue if they keep trotting out a subpar starter every five days.

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