The St Louis Cardinals lost Kwang Hyun Kim to an elbow injury on Monday, which has been the story of their frustrating season.
There were signs that St. Louis Cardinals starter Kwang Hyun Kim was hurt as his starts kept getting pushed back. While no one with the team would confirm, it was infielder Matt Carpenter of all people who revealed that Kim was dealing with some sort of elbow injury — a bad development in a season of frustration for Kim and the Cardinals.
Only a day later, the Cardinals placed the left-handed Kim, arguably their most consistent starting pitcher, on the Injured List with left elbow inflammation. Right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon, who was on the IL with a right shoulder inflammation, was activated in his place.
It’s an incredibly frustrating development for a team that thought they were finally on the doorstep of having their Opening Day rotation return. Ace Jack Flaherty is only days away from returning and right-hander Miles Mikolas, who has been dealing with elbow and shoulder injuries for the better part of two years, is also close to returning. Now, with Kim out, the Cardinals have to wait to get their rotation back to full strength — and it’s unclear just how long Kim will be on the IL.
The Cardinals, however, are equipped to get by without Kim. They have left-handers Jon Lester and J.A. Happ and both were acquired to eat innings with Flaherty and Mikolas out. While it’s not ideal, and certainly a downgrade from Kim, both can provide a similar left-handed look to Kim and eat innings to avoid further taxing an already overworked bullpen. The challenge for both Lester and Happ, however, will be limiting the damage early, as both have allowed at least five runs in each of their three combined starts.
But there is no question that losing Kim for any amount of time impacts the Cardinals’ already slim playoff chances. They entered Monday with a 1.5 percent chance of making the postseason and losing one of their best starting pitchers will make that task even more difficult, especially when it comes to erasing a 10 game deficit in the National League Central.
It’s nothing new for the Cardinals, however. It’s basically been the story of their season.
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