Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jake Westbrook looks sharp in rehab outing. Decision looms on starting rotation.

Jake Westbrook pitched 7 strong innings for low A Peoria on Sunday and looks ready to return to the rotation, which means the Cardinals have a difficult decision to make.  Should Westbrook replace Tyler Lyons or Michael Wacha when he returns?

Last week, I made the case for keeping Lyons in the rotation.  However, since then, Lyons has had another clunker of a start and now I'm not so sure Lyons is the best bet for the Cardinals going forward.

Part of my case was built on the expectation that Chris Carpenter was nearing a rehab assignment.  However, per Carpenter, he is going to take it slow and it will be a while before he is ready to pitch in games.  I thought he could be back at the end of June and its sounds more like it will be after the All-Star break.

Bottom line is that the Cardinals have to do what gives themselves the best chance to win.  Lyons, while impressive his first couple times out has been more hittable in his last couple starts.

On the other hand, in his short major league career, Wacha has one excellent start and one dud.  While his first start showed what he is capable of, his second start indicates that he is not ready.  So, while he may have the more upside of the two, the Cardinals may decide to send him down for more seasoning.

In any case, we should find out the Cardinals decision by the end of this week.  In the meantime, all eyes will be on Wacha for his start on Tuesday.

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