St. Louis Cardinals: Rotation Being Set Up for Failure

As the season draws near the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation is rounding into shape, and it doesn’t look good.

Earlier today, Derrick Goold relayed that the St. Louis Cardinals have a blueprint for the way the rotation will be mapped out heading into the season. Unfortunately, it is not looking like the smartest way to map the rotation.

You may be thinking where guys are pitching right now doesn’t really matter, but it does. Not only would it help the team get off to a good start by winning the first couple of games. A strong start would help the bullpen out, as they wouldn’t need them as much to start things off.

A bad start to things would throw off the rhythm of the team, and could put them in a hole in a division where you need all the wins you can get.

Here is your projected rotation.

Adam Wainwright

Michael Wacha

Mike Leake

Jaime Garcia

Carlos Martinez

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with the top of rotation, as Adam Wainwright is without a doubt the ace of the staff. He’s the veteran that this team needs, and could put up Cy Young numbers yet again this season.

After that, it is all downhill from there. Michael Wacha has the potential to be the worst starting pitcher in this rotation, and it is very troubling. Spring Training stats are not normally something you want to hang your hat on, but looking at what Wacha did in his most recent outing against the Washington Nationals last week, shows that he has not necessarily gained the command he needs. 

He went two innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, through two innings pitched. Wacha threw a lot of pitches in that outing, something he struggled with in 2015. The worry in this is that Wacha struggles to command his fastball, and when he can’t get anything else going, hitters can wait on the changeup and wait for the fastball up in the zone.

I’m not the only one who has talked about this, as Joe Schawrz of Viva El Birdos mentioned it as well. It is the biggest concern for the Cardinals moving forward.

Then you have Mike Leake who was signed this past offseason, and has probably the worst overall numbers of every pitcher on the staff, but has the second largest contract. He could be pretty good for the Cardinals if he can keep the ball down and on the ground. Overall, he is a solid addition for the Cardinals in the back end of the rotation. 

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However, his manager has him slotted, as the #3 starter. The problem with this is that you have the two pitchers with the best stuff of the entire staff as the fourth and fifth starters.

Not only that, you have Jaime Garcia, who is entering the season healthy for the first time in a long time, he is the second most tenured veteran on this team and many claim he has the best stuff on the staff. In this situation, Garcia proved last season that he can be an asset at the top of the rotation.

While it is understandable that the Cardinals want to give Carlos Martinez the most rest ahead of the season, he shouldn’t be the fifth starter. The Cardinals don’t have time to mess around this season, the Cubs and Pirates will be there all season long. Setting the rotation up like this sets the team up for early failure that could be bad news at the end of the season.

This is the first managerial blunder of the season, and I can only hope Mike Matheny doesn’t mess up the lineup as well. I have been extremely optimistic about the season, but this projected rotation gives me a dose of skepticism.