The St. Louis Cardinals have already made changes to the lineup, but Mike Shildt indicated that changes may now be coming to the rotation.
Just yesterday, we wrote about how important the next seven games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks would be for the St. Louis Cardinals. They both provided winnable matchups for the fourth-place Cardinals to get back on track.
Well, things are not exactly off to a strong start. The Cardinals lost the first game of the series against the Pirates, 8-2, and manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including Katie Woo of The Athletic, that changes to the rotation are “in motion” and that any changes would come in house, not from outside the organization.
That last sentence rules out a trade and it’s highly unlikely that the organization calls up top pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, considering that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has continually said he will not rush a prospect to the majors. One option could perhaps be left-handed pitcher Connor Thomas, who has pitched well in recent weeks for Triple-A Memphis, allowing one run in nine innings pitched while striking out 11 and walking only two.
Who the Cardinals could potentially replace in the rotation is unknown, though the two most likely candidates are right-handers John Gant and Carlos Martinez. Gant has struggled in recent starts after a dazzling start, but Martinez figures to be bumped out of the rotation first. He has been awful since a promising start to the year, now owning a 6.78 ERA and 49/33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 73 innings, pitching five or less innings in four of his last five starts.
It would be a disappointing result for Martinez, considering he showed so much promise in the offseason and in spring training. But with the Cardinals now 6.5 games back in the National League Central, they have to do something to improve the rotation. Removing Martinez, who has been a liability at best this season, would seem to be the first step. But even that may not be enough. Stay tuned.