Poncedeleon (0-2) took the loss Wednesday against the Pirates, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk across five innings. He struck out seven. All five hits Poncedeleon allowed were singles, but they all came in the second and third innings, resulting in a pair of runs. The rookie now owns a shiny 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 22:6 K:BB across four starts (19.1 innings) this season, though it's unclear if he'll get another turn in the rotation or head back to the bullpen.
Poncedeleon will return to the rotation to start Wednesday against the Pirates, Rob Rains of StLSportsPage.com reports. The start will come on short rest, as Poncedeleon tossed a pair of relief innings in Detroit on Saturday. It's unclear if the Cardinals expect to run with a six-man rotation through the end of the season or if Poncedeleon will make just the one start before returning to the bullpen.
Poncedeleon will work out of the bullpen moving forward, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. With an off day Thursday, the Cardinals will move to a four-man rotation until Adam Wainwright (elbow) makes his return to the rotation next Monday against the Pirates. As a result, Poncedeleon and Luke Weaver will be shifted back to the bullpen for the final month of the season, though both will remain options to start down the stretch should an opportunity arise. The 26-year-old owns a 3.38 ERA across 10.2 innings of relief this season (five appearances).
Poncedeleon (0-1) allowed three earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four across 3.1 innings to take the loss against the Reds on Saturday. The Reds got to Poncedeleon the second time through the lineup, when they recorded three doubles in the span of four batters in the fourth inning. That led to all three of his earned runs and he did not survive the inning. It was a disappointing effort for Poncedeleon, as he had remained stretched out as a starter at Triple-A Memphis and had the opportunity to pitch deeper into the game. However, If he remains in the rotation, he should be stretched out enough to provide meaningful innings.
Poncedeleon was called up as expected ahead of his scheduled start Saturday against the Reds. Poncedeleon spent some time in the minors over the last 10 days as the Cardinals didn't need a fifth starter, but he's back with the team in September and will be make at least one more start. The 26-year-old has thrown 21.2 innings with a sparkling 2.08 ERA this season, though it's taken a .204 BABIP and a 89.6 percent strand rate to get to that point. His strikeout rate of 21.2 percent is unremarkable, while he's posted a high walk rate (11.8 percent) and a low groundball rate (32.1 percent).