Cardinals News: St. Louis announces Opening Day rotation
It was not easy, but the St. Louis Cardinals have announced their starting rotation for Opening Day, featuring two new faces.
There were obstacles, most notably injuries, that made it difficult for the St. Louis Cardinals to set their regular season rotation. But in the days before Opening Day, manager Mike Shildt has finally announced his rotation.
The rotation, in order: Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, John Gant and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Missing from the rotation are Miles Mikolas and Kwang-hyun Kim, who are both battling injury. Mikolas will be out long-term and Kim will return sometime in the near future, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Flaherty and Wainwright have long been locks to head the rotation. Flaherty will be the team’s Opening Day starter and be the franchise’s long-term ace. The Cardinals brought back Wainwright on a one-year deal this offseason, hoping he could provide stability for at least one more season, and the 38-year-old had arguably his best spring training of his career. The team believes their top two is as strong as it’s been in a while, with the organization hopeful that Flaherty bounces back after a down season.
Martinez has been a near lock to be in the rotation and was basically cemented in not long into spring training. He is a bit of a wild card; he has elite stuff, but has been inconsistent throughout his career. He has shown some signs of doing that, though inconsistencies plagued him early on in spring.
Gant and de Leon have starting experience and figure to help ease the losses of Mikolas and Kim. It remains to be seen who stays in the rotation once Kim returns, though the early guess is that it would be Gant. But both he and de Leon have fared better in the bullpen than as starters so once both pitchers return, they will slide back into the bullpen, giving the team the depth it hopes it needs to withstand the 162-game season.