Sep 30, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Closer- Trevor Rosenthal
Had one try to guess the October bullpen in April, it’s hard to imagine that only three relief pitchers from the Opening Night roster might make the postseason roster. Despite leading the National league with 62 saves, the bullpen still presents some flaws heading into the postseason.
Perhaps the most controversial debate would be Lyons over Choate, but a lot of this falls on the proclaimed lefty specialist’s inability to record outs against the heavy left-handed hitters. Choate failed to retire a batter in 20 outings, making it difficult to line him up against Anthony Rizzo, Pedro Alvarez or other potential left-handed hitting power threats.
Lyons features an improved breaking ball that provides similar specialist qualities to Choate, not to mention he has provided flexibility throughout the season as a starter and a long reliever in 2015.
The thought of Adam Wainwright pitching in October seemed like an unrealistic timetable after his Achilles injury in April, but the 3-time All Star has retained arm strength and showed strong poise, which could help him earn a postseason role and possibly be stretched to multiple innings over time.
Many of the other bullpen selections come as no surprise, especially after Kevin Siegrist led the MLB with 81 appearances and Trevor Rosenthal finished with the most single-season saves (48) in the Cardinals’ franchise history.