St Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes in elite company among closers

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ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 06: Alex Reyes #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on June 6, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 06: Alex Reyes #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on June 6, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals are going through a tough time, but the back end of their bullpen has been among the league’s best.

There is not much going right for the St. Louis Cardinals. The rotation is battered and bruised. The offense is underperforming. The result has been a drastic collapse, with the club falling to 32-33 and in fourth place in the National League Central.

One positive, however, has been reliever Alex Reyes. He has been one of the best bullpen pieces in baseball, overpowering hitters and striking them out at a high rate, being one of two relievers to not blow a save this season with the other being Milwaukee Brewers star Josh Hader, according to Mike Vassallo of Brewers public relations.

Reyes, 26, has a 0.87 ERA in 31 innings with a 44/28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. While the walks have been an issue, and are certainly something he’ll need to correct if he wants to eventually transition back to the rotation, he has been able to limit the damage and has been the stabilizing force the bullpen has desperately needed since Jordan Hicks went on the injured list with a long-term injury.

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It remains to be seen if Reyes approaches the 100+ inning mark that the Cardinals were eyeing before the regular season. The team would be wise to manage his workload and keep him fresh for a potential postseason run, provided they do get to that point as the arrow trends downward on their season given the amount of injuries.

No matter what, Reyes has played himself into a prominent role on this team going forward. Whether that’s as the closer or at the top of the rotation remains to be seen. And if the Cardinals hope to dig out of their current hole, which is a 1-9 stretch in their last 10 games, they’ll need the entire team to step up.

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Reyes, meanwhile, just needs to continue what he’s doing. He’s what has kept this Cardinals team from totally sinking.

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