Zack Thompson will play a critical role
Although the Cardinals’ bullpen has struggled of late, relief pitcher Zack Thompson remains a bright spot in his rookie year. Although he is only 24 years old, he should be able to handle the pressures of the playoffs and take on an integral role.
The bridge to reach Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley is a bit rickety, and while Thompson hasn’t been quite as dominant in his past few appearances, he has still shown that he has the arsenal to consistently retire major league hitters. Marmol shouldn’t shy away from the rookie in big spots; he should go to Thompson early and often if the starter is in trouble or doesn’t have his best stuff. He has the skills to shine on the biggest stage.
I can also see Thompson closing games if Helsley pitches in a high-leverage spot to get out of a jam or simply needs a rest. Wherever Thompson pitches, he should thrive.