Saturday, March 23, 2013

Does Jason Motte injury make Shelby Miller the 5th starter for the Cardinals?

Although they are both scheduled to pitch again on Monday, a couple of recent news items have people speculating that Shelby Miller will beat out Joe Kelly for the 5th starter job.

The first is that Miller will be making the start on Monday with Kelly working in relief.  This is the second time in a row that Miller has gotten the start and an indication that the Cards want him to get into a pre-start routine.

The second, and most important news, is that Jason Motte will likely start the season on the DL.  While it may not seem to have an impact on the 5th starter role, it does.  For one thing, it means that Kelly, Miller and Fernando Salas will all most likely make the opening day roster and since Kelly is better suited for relieving, it follows that he would be the long reliever in the pen.

Motte's injury pushes Mitchell Boggs into the closer role, with Trevor Rosenthal as the likely setup man. 

Here is the projected starting rotation and bullpen:

Starting Rotation
  1. Adam Wainwright
  2. Jake Westbrook
  3. Jaime Garcia
  4. Lance Lynn
  5. Shelby Miller
  1.  Mitchell Boggs - Closer
  2. Trevor Rosenthal - Setup
  3. Edward Mujica - Middle
  4. Fernando Salas - Middle
  5. Joe Kelly - Long
  6. Randy Choate - LOOGY
  7. Marc Rzepczynski - LOOGY
The injury to Motte obviously hurts the Cardinals bullpen and put more pressure on Rosenthal who is now expected to step into a prominent role in his rookie year.  However, as he showed in the playoffs last year, he is not afraid of pressure situations.

In any case, the roster is nearly set.  We'll see what kind of impact the game Monday has on Miller and Kelly's statuses.

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