St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen is one of the game’s best


Well, the St. Louis Cardinals’ win streak is now a thing of the past – although getting right back on the horse on Thursday is certainly promising.

It was a great thing to watch. One of the things I could say that I, as a fan, have envied over the years is other good teams’ abilities to go on stretches like the Cardinals just went on.

However, as a fan of analytics, I want to look into what helped the team go on this win streak. One of the key factors to it has been the Cardinals’ strong bullpen, something that has been sorely needed during this recent stretch and they answered the bell.

Taking a look at the numbers through the Cardinals’ win streak shows us that the bullpen threw 36 1/3 innings in which it allowed two earned runs on just 28 hits. The strongest member of that bullpen has been right-hander Carlos Villanueva , who turned in eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball. During that stretch, he struck out eight and walked just two.

Those are some strong numbers and they have been the key during this streak dating back to April 28. It is no secret that with two young pitchers in Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez likely having their innings monitored and with Adam Wainwright now out for the season, the Cardinals are going to need their bullpen to step up in a major way.

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Along with this hot stretch the Cardinals have had some pleasant surprises in the bullpen. Miguel Socolovich was called up on May 1 and has done a fine job since arriving, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball. Socolovich, who was signed to a minor league deal back in November, has figured in the decision in two of his first three appearances and has provided the team with some much-needed relief help.

The other surprise has been, “Navy Man” Mitch Harris. Harris was called up on April 21 to give the Cardinals an extra man in the bullpen and has really performed well ever since his call-up.

Normally, you expect your rookie to be a little shaken and give up a run or two in his first few outings. However, Harris is no average rookie coming in at age 29 having spent his early years in the United States Navy. Harris has shown that he belongs at this level with 6 2/3 innings of work turned in to-date.

With the latest news of Jordan Walden likely missing a significant amount of time, it is key that the Cardinals continue to get strong innings out of guys like Harris and Socolovich. You can also expect Sam Tuivailala to play a role in this bullpen as well, having already been called up once to fill when Walden was placed on the DL and sent back down when the team called up Lyons.

What are your thoughts of the bullpen so far? Is it too good to be true and regression is coming? Or, is it a sign of how good this team is going to be? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!