St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has been on the shelf since early in spring training because of a nerve issue that caused neck pain and shoulder weakness. He hasn’t been on the mound since mid-march. The starters have won 19 of the teams including the undefeated Lance Lynn who has won 6. The Cardinals are second in team ERA in the National League. The Cardinals bullpen is seventh in the league team ERA. Could Carpenter be an option in the bullpen down the stretch?
Carpenter may not be healthy enough to pitch 7 innings every fifth day down the stretch and into the post season if they make it. What about an inning or two every other day? He might be healthy enough for that. He would be an upgrade over Fernando Salas and his over 6 ERA. Getting Chris Carpenter back, even in that role down the stretch would be huge and a bigger upgrade than the competition fro the Central or the Wild Card may be able to make.
Coming out of the bullpen may be the answer for Carpenter to rehab instead of the minors, especially if he’s not ready until after the minor league season ends. He can use those innings more effectively in the majors rather than down in a minor league rehab assignment.
Yes the Cardinals major bullpen problem may be a second lefty. JC Romero hasn’t exactly been stellar so far. If you don’t believe me, believe his 10.50 ERA and more earned runs than innings pitched so far. They can address that down the stretch. The important thing is that they get Carpenter healthy whether it is a starter or an additional arm down the stretch for the bullpen. Carpenter may need be needed as a starter with the way the pitchers are pitching and if needed top prospect Shelby Miller. Carpenter is a winner and has been through playoff runs. Even if he’s not healthy enough to be a starter having him in the bullpen may be better than not at all.