St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation remains a problem early in 2022
While it’s only eight games into the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation remains a big problem.
Yes, I want to clarify that this article comes with some disclaimers. First, the St. Louis Cardinals have only played in eight games. Second, they have been missing Jack Flaherty, who is on the injured list, so it’s not like the rotation has been at full strength.
But it’s clear that the Cardinals rotation remains a problem.
Just take a look at the ERAs of their four starting pitchers: Adam Wainwright (3.48), Steven Matz (7.27), Miles Mikolas (2.61) and Dakota Hudson (7.71). Sure, Matz’s numbers were inflated by his first start that was cut short because of a blister issue. But their 4.95 combined rotation ERA ranks 21st in baseball, surprisingly ahead of the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers.
Still, that’s not going to be good enough. Not when the Los Angeles Dodgers are loaded with offense, pitching and everything in between. The good news for the Cardinals, of course, is that their bullpen appears primed to exceed expectations. But for the Cardinals to overtake the Brewers, and eventually the Dodgers in the National League, they’ll need the rotation to be better.
Flaherty returning will be big for the rotation to be better, though while he has resumed throwing, it remains unclear when he will return. In the meantime, Jordan Hicks is the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter, and he has never started a game in the majors. It also remains to be seen whether he can stay healthy for an entire 162-game season, though the early signs look positive for Hicks as he has thrived in the bullpen role, and made the Royals’ Salvador Perez look silly in a recent series against Kansas City.
The rotation should be better. Wainwright will be Wainwright. Flaherty will eventually return. Matz’s numbers will even out into the low-to-mid 3s. It will be on Mikolas to sustain his numbers and for Hudson to be better than he has shown early on.
The Cardinals believe both will do that, and it’s a gamble that the team will be watching closely before the trade deadline.