Cardinals Shake Up The Bullpen


In the first of what I can imagine is only the beginning, the St. Louis Cardinals released 40 year old Miguel Batista (I will hereby refer to him as casualty #1) from the organization yesterday and recalled Lance Lynn back from Memphis.

"Batista, 40, made 26 appearances for the Cardinals after making the team as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He allowed 27 hits in 29 1/3 innings, striking out 16 against 19 walks. He has struggled mightily in recent weeks, allowing 14 runs and 11 walks in 13 1/3 innings over his past 12 appearances since mid-May.From the Cardinals Official Website"

It seems as if the straw that finally broke the camels back came following Tuesday nights 9 run 8th for the Phillies that really has the Cardinals wondering where exactly they go from here.

Kyle McClellan went 7 full innings giving up one run on five hits with the lead still intact.
* Trever Miller comes in (eventually credited the loss) – 0.1 IP, 1 hit, 2 ER, 1 BB
* Jason Motte (blown save) – hits two batters in a row 0.0 IP, 2 HB, 2 ER
* Brian Tallet – 0.1 IP, 1 hit, 1 ER
* Miguel Bautista – 0.0, 1 hit, 3 ER, 2 BB
* Maikel Cleto – 1.1 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB

It may seem as if I am jumping the gun just by looking at one games stat line, but this has become a season long problem.

2011 Stats:
Batista, Miguel (Released)
4.60 ERA
29.1 IP
27 Hits!
15 ER!!
2 HR
4 HB
19 BB!!

It does not get a whole lot better from there. With the exception of Sanchez, Motte (if you forget Tuesday), and Salas, there is nothing to cheer for in that current bullpen. Mitchell Boggs has also done well, but they put him in Memphis to develop him as a starter and now he is back in the pen so who the hell knows what is happening there.

Trever Miller HAS TO BE the next one to go. Not maybe, not could be, HAS TO!!

Sure he has a 3.86 ERA this season, but the 38 year old has struggled in nearly every appearance he has taken the mound. 14 IP, 13 hits, 6 ER. Every time he comes out it as almost as if he is the sacrificial lamb for the 0.1 innings he may actually play while the real pitcher warms up. He is casualty #2.

Now we just have a bunch of question marks.

Ryan Franklin….oh Ryan Franklin, quite possibly the most hated man alongside Brandon Phillips right now in St. Louis. Our former closer used to be the epitome of elite closers for the Cardinals. He was dropped from the closer role after blowing 4 saves in 5 opportunities in favor of this “closer by committee” debacle we now enjoy….if the setup pitchers allow us to stay close enough to the lead. Franklin has a 8.17 ERA and now looks more and more like a third casualty. They can’t rely on him in the closer slot, he can’t do middle, long, or short relief. GONE!

Lance Lynn has only been in the league as a starter and has performed fairly well to this point and probably the only one of the remaining bullpen staff that actually can still depend on his job.

Tallet and Augenstein have had extensive injuries but their numbers still suffer without the fact, pitching 7.71 ERA and 8.34 ERA respectively. Augenstein (24) could still have the age factor on his side to protect him for the time being, while Tallet (33) will be held to a higher standard as he should be a more seasoned veteran by now if he is going to be successful in this league.

Maikel Cleto (22) is another young talent in question that for me could be on the line. Sure he is young and developing but from what I have seen he has been absolutely horrible. He keeps going between St. Louis and the Springfield (AA) Cardinals. What he has shown me in the 3.1 IP is 6 hits, 6 ER, and 2 HRs and oddly enough his best thus far was Tuesday night. I think it is still early for him, what is for sure, he doesn’t belong in the major leagues quite yet. It seems as if the team agrees too, today he was optioned to Memphis and the Cardinals are bringing Raul Valdez to St. Louis to see what he can do from the pen.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. All season we have heard names like J.C. Romero, Matt Capps, Joel Hanrahan, and Heath Bell (among others) as potential suitors for a deadline deal. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has stated he was going to wait until around the July deadline before he decides if moves are need….It looks as if Batista is just phase one.

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