The St. Louis Cardinals have overworked their bullpen to start this season.
It’s something that manager Mike Shildt has continually stated is not sustainable. Their starting pitchers, with the exception of Jack Flaherty, have not pitched deep into games.
It’s caused the bullpen to have an immense workload to begin the season, when teams have wanted to manage workloads to start the year as there is an increase worry about pitcher injuries ramping up from 60 to 162 games.
So it is no surprise that the Cardinals, with a 17 game in 17-day schedule looming, are going to a six-man rotation, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who noted that Johan Oviedo is being called up to be their No. 6 starter. He will make his first appearance on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
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It’s likely this is the first of many roster moves the Cardinals make during this stretch to aid their pitching. They can call up as many arms from the alternate site and option some of their major-league arms — some of which could cause momentary panic — but the objective will be to have as many fresh arms as possible to get through their first grueling stretch of the regular season.
Oviedo is a good start. He can provide length in the rotation and even out of the bullpen. He has successfully done both in the past. But the Cardinals will need their entire rotation to step up and pitch deep into ballgames. It will aid their bullpen. But it will also help the offense which has struggled to consistently produce runs.
It will be their first big test of the regular season. And for a bullpen that is already taxed, the pressure is on Shildt to get his team through it unscathed.