How good is the St. Louis Cardinals rotation?
In a follow up to a story broken by Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has set the starting rotation for the 2015 season behind ace Adam Wainwright, who despite initial health concerns during Spring Training has rounded into form and will be getting the nod to start the 2015 Season opener against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, April 5th. Many so called experts have their picks for the best rotations among all 30 MLB teams. How good is the St. Louis Cardinals rotation?
When your pitching staff features one of arguably the top 10 starting pitchers in all of baseball at the top of your rotation, that is generally found to give your club a realistic shot to compete or at the very least win once every five games they pitch. The Cardinals certainly have that luxury with Adam Wainwright who went 20-9 last season and finished third in the NL Cy Young race.
You know what you get with Wainwright which is dependability, leadership and pure dominance practically every time he takes the mound. Behind him, the St. Louis Cardinals rotation in order hasLance Lynn, whom on many teams could be a number one starter and who has won at least 15 games a season since entering the rotation in 2012, veteran pitcher and 2 Time World Series Winner, John Lackey, phenom Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, who takes the 5th spot in the rotation with high expectations on his shoulders.
Many pundits have the Washington Nationals staff as the best starting staff in the Majors and it is hard to argue from first glance. The Nationals picked up former Cy Young Winner and St. Louis bornMax Scherzer who slides in at the top of an already stacked rotation. Behind him is underrated and perhaps under-valued Jordan Zimmerman, flame thrower Stephen Strasburg, with Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister rounding out the rotation and Tanner Roark waiting in the wings if someone goes down.
On paper that is very impressive, however you still have to go out there and win games when it matters the most. Minus Scherzer, last post-season, the San Francisco Giants handled the Nationals staff quite well. In my opinion, the Cardinals rotation is just as deep as the Nationals and have arms waiting in Triple A if need be. I don’t believe the same can be said about the Nationals if one of their starters goes down.
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One thing that is for certain is that the Cardinals rotation has shown how steady they can be particularly in the postseason, despite coming up just short last year against eventual World Series winner the San Francisco Giants. Mike Matheny had the daunting task of mixing and matching during different stretches of the season last year with Michael Wacha missing majority of the season as well as constant arm troubles for Jaime Garcia.
As long as the Cardinals monitor the usage of Wainwright while getting the typical 15 wins or more from Lance Lynn, consistency of John Lackey, return to form and brilliance of Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez performing to his potential, (many feel he has Pedro Martinez-like potential) and this rotation is as good as any in baseball. I believe the Cardinals rotation will be amongst the league leaders in wins, ERA and quality starts as they typically are and in the end we will see just how good the staff is. Thanks for reading!