As the Cubs were playing the Cardinals on Sunday, trying to force a Game 163 against the Brewers, Joe Maddon brought in Carl Edwards Jr. to try to hold down what was already a huge lead. It was another very disappointing appearance, and I remarked that I’m not sure the Cubs could justify carrying him on a postseason roster at this point. It’s a rough turn for such a promising arm, but something has been wrong for a long time:
Since August 15, Carl Edwards Jr. has a 2.77 ERA … and a 17.5% K rate and 23.8% BB rate.
For a month and a half now, he has been as lucky as he has been unusable.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 30, 2018
That is not a guy to whom you can entrust the most important innings in a season.
Sure enough, Edwards was left off today’s Wild Card Game roster, but, more than that, there is an indication that something is indeed wrong – not in Edwards’ mind, but with his arm:
Carl Edwards Jr. experienced right forearm discomfort after pitching on Sunday, so #Cubs decided to keep him off the one-game playoff roster and let him test it out today and see where he's at should they beat Colorado and advance to the next round.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) October 2, 2018
A justification so that a young pitcher doesn’t feel bad about being left off the roster, or a legit issue? Although I might normally lean toward the former, I’m going with the latter in this case, not only because of Edwards’ extreme wildness problems, but also because Sunday’s appearance marked the lowest velocity of his career (he averaged under 93 mph), and continued a trend in that direction since mid-August. Maybe he was trying to improve his command by taking something off, or maybe he was feeling a little something in there.
You certainly get nervous when you hear about a pitcher’s forearm, because of its connection to the elbow. Hopefully there’s nothing serious going on here, but, even if not, Edwards’ season may well be over. It’s hard to imagine the Cubs shelving him today for an ostensible health issue – after a month and a half of deep struggle – and then counting on him as a playoff arm in a short series.