The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen blew the first two games against the Tigers in the ninth inning, but they still are not going to name a closer.
In an article on MLB.com by Tyler Fenwick, new St. Louis Cardinals manager is still going to use whoever is available down the stretch. In the article by Fenwick, Mike Shildt mentions Bud Norris, Jordan Hicks, and Carlos Martinez. Despite that, the guy who recently had the interim tag removed is going with a day by day approach.
Earlier in the season, the bullpen was a major issue. After a quick overhaul, things were looking up, but now the struggles are creeping back in. Shildt should name a true closer, and it is one of the three aforementioned arms.
This is not the answer anymore. During the first half of the season, Norris saved 17 games in 19 chances with an ERA in the threes. He was very good. The second half is not off to the same start. In 14 chances, Norris has already blown three. Not to mention last night’s game when he allowed the winning run of a tie game in without giving up a hit. There is use for Norris in the bullpen, but closing games should not be it.
Talk about an electric arm. Hicks is one of, if not the most, electric arms in the MLB. Next season, the full time closer role should be his to lose. However, based on the weight each game holds this year, he works better in the eighth inning role.
Hicks just turned 22, and he looks to have a bright future as a reliever. This season he has blown five save opportunities.
We have a winner with Martinez. He has been great out of the bullpen this year, and he is a guy that can be trusted to close the door down the final stretch of the season. We know he will be in a bullpen role to close out the year, and if Shildt is already thinking about him for the ninth why not pull the trigger?
If the St. Louis Cardinals want to reach the postseason, they need to close out games. It is that simple. Losing two straight games on a walkoff is not the way to move on. Hicks and Norris are not cutting it, but Martinez just might.