Michael Wacha has made two starts in the big leagues after being down with a stress reaction. So should the Cardinals have brought him back? Are they rushing him? What does that mean for this year and what does it mean for the future?
If he's actually healthy it shouldn't affect his future at all. The timing isn't opportune because it precluded him from having a real rehab stint in the minors, but I think we can agree a healthy, effective Michael Wacha instils more confidence than anyone outside of Wainwright, Lynn & (IMHO) John Lackey among the available starters.
The division at this point looks fairly secure. Top seed in the NL is within reach, but the Cardinals are chasing two different teams for it. I don't have a problem with using big-league starts to strengthen the arm and re-establish the command of a guy who has already shown he can go on the road in the playoffs and win an elimination game and can also stare down the best pitcher in all of baseball (twice) in the postseason and come out on top.
All right, I don't think it's any understatement to say that this has been a disappointing season so far for the Redbirds. What do you need to see in the next couple of weeks (say through the All-Star Break) to make you feel this team can turn it around in the second half and be a strong playoff team? A move by Mo? A string of good offensive performances? The return of Joe Kelly? Or is there anything at all? Let's use this as the latest Smokey Room and talk about what signs we are looking for.