Friday, August 9, 2013

What in the Wide World of Sports is going on with the Cardinals pitching staff?

After a line drive off his elbow forced Shelby Miller to leave his start on Wednesday night after just 2 pitches, the Cardinals have been in scramble mode the last few days trying to recover.

First, Jake Westbrook was called upon to fill the void after Miller's injury, pitching 4.2 innings after just 3 days rest.  The result was an almost expected thrashing to the tune of 13 hits, 2 walks and 9 runs, which prompted Bernie Miklasz to call Mike Matheny out on his policy of using the next day's starter in case of emergency.

Then, as a result of Westbrook being used out of turn, the Cardinals were forced to call up Carlos Martinez to make a spot start last night.  Martinez also only lasted 4.2 innings, due to cramping, putting even more stress on an already overworked bullpen. 

Now comes word that the Cardinals are calling up Michael Wacha to start on Saturday and perhaps stay a while as the Cards create a "de facto six-man rotation".

Add it all up and it makes you think if the Cardinals brass know what they're doing.

First, I agree with Mikalsz on the Westbrook move.  Although Jake was a trooper and did his part to help out the bullpen, he should have never been put in this position in the first place.  Let's not forget than he has already dealt with elbow soreness this year and the history of pitchers throwing on short rest is not good.

Then, by using Westbrook a day earlier than he was scheduled, it put the Cardinals in a bind for a starter.  They were fortunate that Martinez was available, but bringing a guy up to make his first major league start on such short notice is not a recipe for success.

The result is that the Cardinals pretty much gave away two games while in the middle of a pennant race.

I think we are seeing some of the inexperience of Mike Matheny as a manager coming through here and the results have not been favorable.  The Cardinals are still in good shape, as they still have a 97.7% chance of reaching the playoffs, per Baseball Prospectus, but if they were in a tighter race Matheny would have a lot of explaining to do.

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