For just the second time this season, Marcell Ozuna will not be in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup. Rookie Tyler O’Neill will get the start in left field and bat cleanup as Mike Matheny is giving Ozuna a break in today’s series finale against Philadelphia.
“It’s amazing how team-oriented this guy is,” complimented Matheny, who shared the slugger understood why he was being given a day. “He’s just kind of verbalizing everything that’s going through his mind–how badly he wants to come through in those situations. He knows that he will, but also realizing it’s more about a day of getting his mind right. And then he was quick to say ‘I’m going to come in late in that game and do something big’ so it wasn’t just this day I’m just shutting everything down. He’s unique in a lot of ways. But just in general, he knows he’s going to be that guy. He’s not stepping down from anything, just taking a day and hoping that somebody else comes in there and does something great.”
Ozuna is hitless in his last 22 at-bats.
“He’s wired a lot like a Waino,” compared Mike Matheny. “He’s perpetually optimistic, which we love to have around here. I think it’s a great personal trait, period. But to know that he’s seeing the ball well, I’d say that’s something to build on for any of our guys. You can tell when they’re just not picking it up. There’ve been some times when you can tell, he’s close.”
Last season, the longest drought Ozuna went through was an 0-9 stretch. And despite some recent ground outs with runners in scoring position, has told Matheny that he believes his swing is close getting back to where it needs to be.”
“He’s had enough success in this league to know what that should feel like,” said Matheny. “It all comes down to the feel. We can show him mechanically this or that, but until something clicks for him–like you’re watching Matt Carpenter do right now. He found that feel. He said, ‘I’m close, I sense I’m almost there’. You start to hear that from an Ozuna, get those at the same time, throw Dexter in that mix and that’s going to be a pretty powerful combination.”
CF Tommy Pham
3B Matt Carpenter
1B Jose Martinez
LF Tyler O’Neill
RF Dexter Fowler
2B Kolten Wong
SS Greg Garcia
C Francisco Pena
P Jack Flaherty
LYONS ANOTHER REHAB
–After throwing just six pitches in his rehab appearance last night with Springfield (AA), Tyler Lyons shared he will have another outing with the Double-A club in their game tomorrow morning. Lyons saw limited action in part to Alex Reyes–who struck out a Springfield record 13 hitters in 7.2 innings during his own rehab appearance. “Electric, unhittable,” described Lyons of how Reyes looked.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports