The Cardinals’ pristine deal with JA Happ and Jon Lester pays off – The Athletic

The Cardinals’ pristine deal with JA Happ and Jon Lester pays off – The Athletic

Eight words out of almost 2,500. That’s all I dedicated to the Cardinals in my closing trade deadline, and I did not even mention the two left-handed starting pitchers they had acquired, Jon Lester and JA Happ. All I wrote was “. . . even the Cardinals (2 percent) reinforced their rotation ”- the 2 percent referring to the team’s playoff odds on deadline day, July 30.

I was not alone in dismissing the Cardinals. Fan, media and industry reaction to the additions of Lester and Happ ranged from indifference to scorn. The Cardinals at the time were 51-51, 9 1/2 games left in the NL Central, 7 1/2 left in the wild-card race. Still, they decided their solutions were Lester, 37, who had a 5.02 ERA with the nationals, and Happ, 38, who had a 6.77 ERA with the twins. And for no one to forget, their ace, Adam Wainwright, was turning 40.

“I knew there were some jokes out there about the age of our staff,” Happ said, “but jokes were only part of it. There was also actual criticism. “You hear it. And I understood that, ”said Lester. “I knew I was not having a good year. Not many people switch to someone who has a 5 ERA and say, ‘He’s going to help us.’ “

Lester has produced a 4.30 ERA in eight starts, including a 1.90 in his last four. Happ has the same if ERA is 2.

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