The St. Louis Cardinals rebuilt bullpen excelled this weekend during the series against the Chicago Cubs. Is it too early to say the Bullpen has turned a corner?
The St. Louis Cardinals played the Chicago Cubs this weekend and one of the standout performances came from the ‘rebuilt’ Cardinal Bullpen. This group of relievers pitched 10 2/3 innings and did not allow an earn run against the NL Central leading Cubs. Some faces were new and some were old, but the new mix worked. Their contribution helped the Cards take two out three games from their rivals.
Let’s look at some of the relievers interim manager MIke Schildt used this weekend and their contributions. There were four old faces, one heralded and one unheralded new face, we saw this weekend.
The Old Faces in the Bullpen
Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris were their usually reliable selves during Friday’s and Saturday’s game. With Hicks pitching in the eighth and Norris closing in the ninth, neither allowed a run in either game. The only blemish was Hicks allowed a walk and Norris gave up a hit in Saturday’s game.
Mike Mayers, pitched a scoreless inning in Friday’s game and John Brebbia pitched two scoreless innings in Sunday’s loss.
The only runs allowed by the bullpen came during Sunday’s loss and they were unearned.
With Austin Gomber in relief of John Gant during the fifth inning, second baseman Yairo Munoz fumbled a grounder that would have likely allowed the Cardinals escape the inning unharmed. Three unearned runs were eventually tallied by the Cubs to lead to Sunday’s loss. Gomber threw 25 pitches in 2/3 innings work, but was not charged with a run.
New Faces in the Bullpen
The heralded Dakota Hudson made his major league debut in the seventh inning during Saturday’s victory. In relief of Miles Mikolas, the right-handed Hudson threw 13 pitches, and struck out two in an 1,2,3 inning. The much-anticipated call up of Hudson on Friday, was in response to bullpen purge of Greg Holland, Tyler Lyons, and Sam Tuivailala, along with Bret Cecil returning to the DL.
The unheralded Tyler Webb made his St. Louis Cardinal debut during Sunday’s loss, and pitched two scoreless innings. The left-handed Webb, threw 25 pitches and scattered three hits in the eighth and ninth innings. The 26-year old Webb was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals on June 29, and had been assigned to AAA Memphis before his call up on Friday.
Hudson and Webb are a study in contrasts in regards to expectations. Hudson is considered to be the number four prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals system. On the other hand, Webb had a 12.60 ERA with the San Diego Padres when he was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals.
This weekend certainly wasn’t conclusive that the Cards bullpen is ‘fixed’. However, its performance against the Cubs was promising. What makes this weekend promising, is the Cubs are leading the NL in team BA average(.266) and team OPS(.768).
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I was impressed the way MIke Schildt handled his bullpen during the Cubs series. He pulled Hudson after only one inning, however it allowed the young right hander to leave the game on a positive note. Also, on Sunday, he allowed Brebbia and Webb to go two innings a piece. This gave the Schildt and staff a chance to evaluate how well these pitchers could do if extended beyond one inning.
The Cardinals are expected to add another arm for the Colorado Rockies series starting on Monday. Left handed specialist Chasen Shreve was picked up by the Cards over the weekend in the Luke Voit trade with the New York Yankees. Shreve has already been added to the 40 man roster and is expected to be added to the active roster for the Colorado Rockies series starting Monday.
The 28-year-old Shreve brings a career ERA of 3.71 and a 2018 ERA of 4.26. Who Shreve replaces is unclear as of now, but it could be Webb.
On our Podcast on Sunday, Site co-editor Trevor Hooth, writer Christian May-Suzuki and myself discuss the rebuilt Cards bullpen and other issues. You can listen to it here.St. Louis Cardinals: Official Redbird Rants podcast episode 2.16
The Cardinals start a series against the Colorado Rockies tonight and will be another good test for this bullpen. The Rockies come into the series third in the NL with a BA of .257 and second in OPS at .759.
What did you think to the Cardinals bullpen performance this weekend? Be sure to let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and Go Cards!