(Busch Stadium) The St. Louis Cardinals have made a change to their pitching rotation as Daniel Poncedeleon will start on Tuesday and Luke Weaver has been moved to the bullpen, ready to be called upon as early as today.
“The results are results and you need to be able to go out there and contribute,” said Weaver, who told Mike Shildt he understood the move. “Things have just kind of been a little shaky, a little inconsistent. I understand that. I’m a good evaluator of myself and I know some things need to be worked out. I’m really confident where I’m at with it, it’s just about going out there and doing it. With this move’s not a slap in the face, it’s about going out there and finding a way where I can help the team in a positive way, whether it’s there or anywhere else.”
Throwing 7.0 no-hit innings when he started in his MLB debut on July 23rd, Poncedeleon has since thrown 10.2 innings in five relief appearances. He has allowed four runs, while striking out seven batters with six walks in that stretch.
Weaver is 6-11 on the season and has alternated positive results throwing 6.0, 4.0, 6.0 2.2, 6.0, and 3.2 innings in his last six starts. In those 28.1 innings, he allowed 12 earned runs with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks.
The issue for Weaver is rooted in his fastball command and not hitting his location. However, during the video session after his last start, a mechanical issue was identified which should help with his consistency.
“It’s a foundation thing where it all stems from this movement and everything else follows suit,” explained Weaver. “Tinkering, trying to find the little things of what I’ve done along the way and it’s not really what has fixed the problem. The problem, I think I might have figured it out and so like I said, it’s going out there and throwing. I feel good about it and hopefully get the ball down.”
During his bullpen session yesterday, Weaver was able to work on that problem. He threw all fastballs during the session.
“It was amazing,” said Weaver. “It was a moment where I sat there and said ‘why did it take so long?’ But it was a really confident, a good feeling to know what it felt like. It was like something had clicked in my head. I was really happy about–and the bullpen was maybe the best bullpen I threw all year.”
And now like others who’ve had their role changed this season, Weaver is accepting of pitching out of the bullpen.
“It’s about adjusting,” said Weaver. “No one takes it personal, we just want to win.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports