Their latest skid underscores that the St. Louis Cardinals need pitching help — and fast — with Jack Flaherty out a significant period of time.
If this sounds like something you read last year, well, it’s because you did. But it reigns true once again: the St. Louis Cardinals need pitching help, and fast.
Right now, the Cardinals are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, losing three consecutive games while losing seven of their last 11 games. They are only three games back in the National League Central, so things could be worse. But Jack Flaherty is still on the no-throwing portion of his latest rehab assignment. Steven Matz is still out. Adam Wainwright has been healthy and pitched well, but breakout star Miles Mikolas has not been immune from struggling while Andre Pallante struggled mightily on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves.
“Our bullpen is really good right now and it would be even better if Matz and Flaherty were healthy,” manager Oli Marmol told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And if this panned out the way it was supposed to, we’d have a pretty damn good rotation with a strong ‘pen.”
Here’s the thing: the rotation is not healthy and it has not panned out the way that it was supposed to. And when things like that happen, especially with Flaherty’s absence being long-term, you’re forced to adjust.
Exploring the starting pitching market is the necessary option, but it’s complicated. Frankie Montas, the consensus top starting pitcher, is injured. It’s unfathomable that the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds would want to trade Kyle Hendricks (now also hurt), Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle to a division rival without asking for the moon in return.
It will force Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak to be creative, which is something he has proven capable of after low-cost additions such as J.A. Happ and Jon Lester last season. And considering his unwillingness to part with any of the club’s top prospects, he’ll likely have to do so again.
But the Cardinals need to add another starting pitcher. It may not happen soon – they appear intent on letting things play out for now – but they cannot leave the Aug. 2 deadline without another starter. Their pitching staff, and their season, would seem to depend on it.