ST. LOUIS -- Edward Mujica, believing that his September struggles have been mostly mental, hopes that playing a mental game can help him emerge from his funk.
"September has been a bad month for me," Mujica said on Sunday. "But the playoffs start in October, and I'll be ready because it's a new month."
First, the Cardinals have to decide whether to place Mujica on the postseason roster. General manager John Mozeliak said on Saturday that he did expect Mujica to play a role out of the bullpen in October. However, that was before Mujica allowed three of the four ninth-inning batters he faced to record a hit -- one home run and two doubles -- in the Cards' 6-2 win over the Cubs.
Mujica entered September with a 1.73 ERA in 55 appearances. He seemed firmly entrenched as the team's closer and was poised to make a run at a 40-save season. It has since turned out to be one of the worst months of his career. Mujica has given up 18 hits and nine earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting .514 against the right-hander, who is now no longer being considered for late-inning, high-leverage situations.
"Sometimes people are more concerned about the last month, because it's the month to get ready for the postseason," Mujica said. "But I feel pretty good. I have to go out there and keep battling. Everything is good throughout my body. The thing sometimes, though, is that this job is like a roller coaster. You have good months. You have bad months. My bad month is September."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.