Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cardinals bullpen in danger of being overworked

After yesterday's 14 inning affair that saw the Cardinals use 5 relievers, including 4 (Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, Edward Mujica and Keith Butler) for 2 or more innings, the Cards bullpen is in serious danger of being overworked.

Tonight, the Cardinals plan on using Joe Kelly to start against the Diamondbacks, in what will likely be another bullpen affair.  Kelly, who has not been stretched out since beginning the season as the Cards long reliever, is unlikely to last more than 4-5 innings, meaning the bullpen will have to be relied upon heavily again.

For teams with a lot of bullpen depth, both at the major and minor league level, this is not an issue.  But for a team like the Cardinals, who have had bullpen issues all season, this could spell trouble with a capital "T".

The Cards have tried to alleviate this problem by recalling Maikel Cleto from AAA and sending Victor Marte down.  However, Cleto's track record doesn't inspire confidence and its unlikely that Mike Matheny would use him in a pressure situation. 

So, if its a tight game tonight, who will Matheny turn to?  Trevor Rosenthal, who has been used heavily all season, including pitching 3 innings the last two days?  Edward Mujica, who was extended to two innings last night instead of his normal one inning save duties.

Only Randy Choate and Cleto are "fresh" and ready to go for tonight's game.  Beyond that, its anybody's guess as to who will get the call.

One thing is for sure, the Cardinals better hope that Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright can give the at least 7 innings the next two nights so the bullpen can get some much needed rest.

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