Poncedeleon will start Tuesday against the Dodgers, taking Luke Weaver's spot in the Cardinals' rotation, Rob Rains of StLSportsPage.com reports. Poncedeleon has thrown 17.2 innings for the Cardinals this season, starting one game and appearing five times in relief. His 2.04 ERA as well as his 2.15 ERA with Triple-A Memphis suggest that he deserves the chance to start, though his underlying numbers at the major-league level aren't nearly as pretty. He's struck out too few batters (15.2 percent), walked too many (13.6 percent) and hasn't generated many groundballs (31.9 percent). His low ERA seems to be primarily a product of his unsustainable .133 BABIP and 91.6 percent strand rate, and his 5.03 FIP may be more reflective of his ability.
Poncedeleon picked up the save against the Royals on Friday, working around three walks and two hits to fire three scoreless innings and close out the Cardinals' 7-0 victory. He struck out one. The right-hander's three-inning save was his first save of any kind this season. He's sporting a 1.23 ERA and 0.89 WHIP through 14.2 innings, so if he continues to put up ratios like that in a long-relief role, he could make a case for a rotation spot during the stretch run. That case could be bolstered by the fact that he threw seven scoreless innings in his only start of the season so far back on July 23. It should be noted, however, that he's currently sporting a 8:9 K:BB, so it's doubtful his ratios will stay that pristine if he doesn't start to limit the free passes.
Poncedeleon will pitch out of the bullpen for the Cardinals, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. While he tossed seven no-hit innings in his big-league debut earlier this month, the Cardinals seem to prefer him as a reliever, at least in the short term. That said, he could join the rotation if the Cardinals have a need in the coming weeks.
Poncedeleon was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday. Poncedeleon was optioned to the minors after pitching seven no-ht innings versus Cincinnati on Monday in order to make room for another fresh arm. Following a flurry of moves by the Cardinals on Friday, the right-hander will return to the big leagues, though whether he will be deployed as a starter or reliever remains to be determined. For the time being, expect him to be available out of the bullpen.
Poncedeleon was sent down to Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday. Poncedeleon could hardly have done better in his major-league debut Monday, tossing seven no-hit innings against the Reds. He'll be sent down for Austin Gomber, who will make his first career start Tuesday. Poncedeleon's performance certainly merited a second start, but his demotion means he'll be ineligible to return for 10 days except to replace someone heading to the disabled list.