The St. Louis Cardinals have already experienced what it was like to be without Jaime Garcia earlier this year when he missed time with a left shoulder sprain. And now, they will be without Garcia for their playoff run.
Following his start in Game 2 of the 2012 NLDS, which lasted just two innings, the Cardinals placed Garcia on the disabled list with rotator cuff strain and inflammation in his left shoulder (h/t Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
This injury will have a big impact on the Cardinals' playoff run moving forward.
Garcia would have played a major role for the Cardinals this postseason, but the Cardinals are not necessarily worse off without him.
During the 2012 season, Garcia had a 7-7 record and a 3.92 ERA over 20 starts. Almost all of the Cardinals other starters had a better year than Garcia.
Lance Lynn had been lights out as a starter during the regular season, but he was on the Cardinals playoff roster as a reliever. During the regular season, Lynn was fourth in the National League with 18 wins and he posted a 3.78 ERA in the midst of an All-Star campaign.
As a result of Garcia's injury, Lynn will now shift back into the Cardinals' starting rotation, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Rookie pitcher Shelby Miller has also taken Garcia's spot on the NLDS roster. This will make getting past the Washington Nationals in the 2012 NLDS a bit more difficult.
There is no denying that this move hurts the Cardinals bullpen. Lynn pitched fairly well in the pen during the Cardinals' World Series run last year.
However, the Cardinals starting rotation arguably gets better by making Lynn a starter once again. If he could put together a few six inning shut out performances then the bullpen will not be needed as much, which would make his shift a lot easier to handle.
How far will the St. Louis Cardinals go this postseason?
The key wild card that could determine how this injury impacts the Cardinals is Miller. He is just 22 years old and he has only appeared in six MLB games.
With that being said, Miller was rated as the eighth best prospect entering the 2012 season by Baseball America and he did pitch well in the month of September (via Baseball-Reference).
Sending a young, starting pitching prospect to the bullpen has worked out well for teams in the past.
In 2008, David Price was just 22 years old when he made five appearances in September. He was dominant enough to convince the Tampa Bay Rays to put him on their postseason roster.
Price delivered in the playoffs. Between the 2008 ALDS and ALCS, Price made five appearances and allowed just one earned run in 5.2 innings while striking out eight.
If Miller is able to replicate the performance that Price had, then the Cardinals will be in a good position to defend their title in 2012.
Between Lynn and Miller, the Cardinals could be able to replace Garcia without much of a problem. While losing Garcia is tough, the Cardinals have the pieces that can help them to overcome the loss.