I'm a little bit surprised by the short memories of St. Louis Cardinals fans. And I'm even more surprised by the way they seem to treat Jaime Garcia as if he WANTS to have shoulder problems.
The news Sunday that Garcia was on his way for an MRI after having more soreness in his surgically-repaired shoulder was met with a course of "I knew it" from Redbirds rooters. But it just doesn't make any sense to freak out about Garcia's latest setback.
First, we don't yet know how serious the problem is. And, second, the Cardinals are well built for just such a contingency. So let's not get our knickers in a twist.
It wouldn't be a surprise at all if a guy who had shoulder surgery last season had some soreness the first time he really tried to air things out after a long layoff. So we can cross our fingers for that. But if his surgery wasn't successful and he needs a clean-up -- or even if he goes the way of Mark Mulder and is never quite right again -- is that his fault?
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Garcia was a heck of a promising young pitcher before two seasons ago when his shoulder started to let go on him. But once things started to get loose, people quickly turned on him and mistook his lack of stuff for a lack of heart. It doesn't make any sense. Nobody feels worse about being unable to perform than the athlete in question.
Either Garcia will be back or he won't. But it won't have anything to do with what's between his ears. It's up to the doctors to sort out his shoulder.
The bright side is that Joe Kelly seems to be well suited to step into the rotation if Garcia can't regain his health. After a rough start in the bullpen, Kelly rebounded for a fantastic season once he got a long overdue chance to start. He was 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA overall. As a starter he was 9-3 with a 2.28 ERA. It seemed like a shame that a guy with those numbers seemed destined to be in the bullpen.
Of course the same people that griped about Garcia will find something to find fault about with Kelly. He doesn't strike out enough people. He doesn't tuck his shirt in correctly. He missed a spot when he was shaving.
I guess the hyper critical mood of Cardinals fans comes from the great deal of success we've all enjoyed over the past decade or so. Nothing short of perfection seems to be acceptable anymore.