St. Louis Cardinals: The case for a six-man rotation


With a pitching staff stacked with guys that have history’s of arm trouble, should the St. Louis Cardinals consider a six-man starting rotation?

Let me preface this by saying that this idea is going to be dealing, pretty much exclusively, with hypotheticals and speculation. Nobody within the St. Louis Cardinals organization is seriously considering the six-man rotation idea, at least nobody that I know of.

But, when you consider what the Cardinals focus is going to be for their starters in terms of limiting innings, as well as the options that the club currently has, it’s not the worst idea you could ever come with.

Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez are both big question marks once they get past the 160-170 innings mark. We know about Jaime Garcia‘s history, and Adam Wainwright has missed virtually all of two separate seasons now thanks to DL stints.

Lance Lynn is lost for the year.

Mike Leake is really the only guy that you can feel pretty safe in counting on somewhere close to 200 innings from.

The Cardinals have viable (although questionable) options to fill a sixth starter role in two guys that are fighting for a roster spot, Matt Bowman and Tyler Lyons.

According to a Fox Sports article by CJ Nitkowski from February, the math on employing a six man rotation could do wonders for limiting innings counts and injury risk to starters.

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In a full season of using a six man rotation, starters would make somewhere around 27 starts, as opposed to the usual 33-34. That six or seven few starts in a year would lead to roughly 30-50 fewer innings thrown.

More time off between starts should remove any type of overuse risk. It should mean that pitchers would be stronger from start to start, and it should lead to guys being much more fresh come playoff time.

Of course, though, if the sixth man you are using doesn’t get you wins, the whole idea quickly becomes irrelevant.

Likewise, it would be tough to end up finishing a game or two back in the division, knowing that you could have thrown your top guy/guys an extra couple of times earlier on.

It’s pretty questionable how guys would respond to the extra day of rest when they’ve developed a career-long routine centered on the four days of rest assumption.

So, yes, a six-man rotation might be a rather silly idea. I’d say the odds are probably against me for this thing happening this year…

But I’m still not going to give up on my Waino, Martinez, Wacha, Garcia, Leake, Lyons/Bowman pitching staff. When it actually happens, we’ll all know who called it first…

Next: Will the Redbirds pitch like they did in 2015?

And next year when Lynn comes back, we’ll just throw him in the mix too. Six-man rotation you say? Ha! Our new seven-man rotation is what it’s all about.

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