Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Does Cardinals manager Mike Matheny trust his bullpen?

One week into the season, you get the sense that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny does not trust his entire bullpen.

In the first 7 games, Matheny has leaned heavily on holdovers Trevor Rosenthal (3 games), Carlos Martinez (4 games), Pat Neshek (4 games) and Kevin Siegrist (5 games). 

However, rubber-armed LOOGY Randy Choate has appeared in just 2 games, while last year's ground ball specialist Seth Maness and this year's "last spot in the bullpen" winner Keith Butler have appeared in just one game apiece.

I can understand the reluctance to use Butler, who was rocked for 5 runs in his lone inning of work, however, the lack of use for Maness and even Choate is unexplicable. 

Using Maness and Choate more would help ease the burden on both Neshek and Siegrist, who, at this pace, would appear in a whopping 93 and 116 games for the season.

Martinez is another problem though.

My initial thought was that, once Jason Motte gets healthy, he would replace Martinez in the bullpen, so that Martinez might be stretched out again as a starter.  However, now I'm not so sure.

Maybe the plan is that Motte replaces Butler in the pen and then Motte and Martinez split the setup duties.

Its not the best case scenario for Martinez' development, but it probably would be best for the team this season.

The bullpen is still a work-in-progress at this point and things may become clearer as the season wears on.

However, one thing is for sure, Matheny needs to find some other guys he can rely on this season or were going to have a lot of tired arms come September.

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