Marco Gonzales will start the back end of a doubleheader for the Cardinals on Tuesday.
With the St. Louis Cardinals set to play a stretch of seven games in six days from Tuesday to Sunday this week, the team will need to mix in a spot starter at some point. GM John Mozeliak announced Sunday morning on KMOX radio that former first-rounder Marco Gonzales will be that spot starter, coming up for the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader with the Milwaukee Brewers to appear in his first big-league game since September 2015.
Gonzales, a 25-year-old lefthander drafted out of Gonzaga in 2013, has been slightly less effective over the latter three of his six minor-league starts this season than he was in the first three, but he’s been very good for the most part, posting a 2.97 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP, 31 strikeouts, and nine walks in 36 1/3 innings split between High-A Palm Beach and Triple-A Memphis.
Over 11 major-league appearances (six starts) between 2014-15, Gonzales has a 4.82 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP, 32 strikeouts, and 22 walks. He’s been much more effective as a reliever in the big leagues, allowing just four hits and four walks over five appearances spanning nine innings. He missed the entire 2016 season and the beginning of this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring.
As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch relayed Sunday, “other move(s) are possible” in advance of the doubleheader. One move that might make sense in the near future, whether it’s simply keeping Gonzales with the team to pitch out of the bullpen after he makes his start or bringing up a guy like Sam Tuivailala or the newly-acquired Sean Gilmartin, would be expanding the bullpen back to 13 pitchers and sending down one of the team’s unused bench players. Position players who could be easily demoted include Chad Huffman, who has gotten just two pinch-hit plate appearances through five days on the active roster, and Paul DeJong, who didn’t get on the field all weekend after Kolten Wong was activated from the disabled list Friday.