St. Louis Cardinals: Pitching is the Cardinals problem
Jedd Gyorko’s inning-ending-bases-loaded-double play in the fifth during Tuesday’s game vs the Brewers, started a blame game on social media. Keep mind folks, it’s a pitching problem, not a Jedd Gyorko or offensive problem.
That’s right. The St. Louis Cardinals recent problems are mainly a result of pitching woes, not offensive issues. The Cardinals starting rotation has struggled to get anyone out of the fifth inning and the bullpen is shedding runs as quickly as a cat sheds his fur inside the living room.
During Tuesday nights fiasco against the Brewers, Austin Gomber represented the problem of the Cardinals starters by only pitching into the fourth inning. After giving up three of his five earned runs, he was removed with two outs in the fourth in favor of Tyson Ross. Consequently, Ross didn’t help the struggling Cardinal bullpen by giving up two earned runs in 2/3 innings of work.
The bullpen woes on Tuesday didn’t end there. After respectable work by Dominic Leone, Chasen Shreve, and John Brebbia, the tag team of Mike Mayers and Brett Cecil shed another five earned runs over one inning. That in effect, ended the game.
Tuesday Night is Characteristic of September Bullpen Woes
Nothing happened on Tuesday night that hasn’t been happening since the first of September. After a solid August, the St. Louis Cardinal bullpen collapsed. Manager Mike Shildt doesn’t know from one night to the next who he can call upon in relief.
Forget about Cecil and Mayers, ERAs of 6.89 and 4.80 don’t inspire confidence in any situation. Jordan Hicks in his last seven appearances is sporting a 5.87 ERA, while Bud Norris‘ ERA is 13.50 in the same number of his most recent appearances.
After giving up nine earned runs in seven inning of relief, Luke Weaver is nowhere to be found since being removed from the starting rotation. Dakota Hudson seems to have hit a wall after a strong start. In his last 15 appearances, his ERA has ballooned to 4.20.
Only Carlos Martinez and John Brebbia have been reliable coming out of the bullpen. Brebbia has a 1.72 ERA in has last 15 appearances, while Martinez’s has a 2.00 ERA in his last seven appearances since being assigned to the bullpen.
The starting rotation woes aren’t only about elevated ERAs, but about going beyond five innings. Jack Flaherty, who was making a case for being the staff ace, has seem to hit that wall many young pitchers do early in their careers. In his last seven starts, Flaherty has only pitched 39 innings. His most recent starts against the Braves and the Brewers, he has only pitched 10 innings and given up eight earned runs.
John Gant, in his last two starts has only pitched seven innings and allowed seven earned runs. Austin Gomber, in two of his last three starts hasn’t gotten to the fourth inning, and allowed 12 earned runs.
Beyond the veterans of Miles Mikolas and the surprising Adam Wainwright, the young arms of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation seems to be worn out. Maybe not just physically, but mentally. Pitching in September of a MLB season vs the late stages of a minor league season, is like the difference between night and day.
Don’t blame the offense or defense
I know, I know, the St. Louis Cardinals made three errors Tuesday night vs the Brewers. Also, Jedd Gyorko made the third out in another bases loaded opportunity in the seventh. However, let’s not fool ourselves and try to blame Gyorko’s plate appearances. We can’t blame Kolten Wong, Matt Adams, or Paul DeJong for their errors in Tuesday’s debacle.
Yes, Yes, there are other issues with this team, other than the rotation and the bullpen. Nevertheless, my point is the rotation issues and bullpen problems are the biggest obstacles in getting to October.
The offense came back in the fourth inning to make a game of it, before the bullpen started suffered another melt down. For a pennant chase, you have to win at least some games when only scoring four runs. In that case you have to depend on a starter giving you 6 or seven innings and the bullpen to come in and shut down the opponent.
The Cardinals haven’t had that happened enough in September. We can’t blame Gyorko,or Jose Martinez‘s defense, or Ozuna’s sore arm. Shoot, we can’t even blame Dexter Fowler. No, if the St. Louis Cardinals fail to make the off-season, it’s going to be on the pitching.
That’s my rant. Thanks for reading and as always….Go Cards.