4 big questions facing the Cardinals after 2 months of play

After two months of the 2024 season, the Cardinals have some big questions they have yet to answer.
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Brett Davis/GettyImages
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Where (and when) will bullpen help come from?

What was once a top-10 bullpen for the St. Louis Cardinals has since become a middle-of-the-pack relief corps. Ryan Helsley, JoJo Romero, and Andrew Kittredge have been overworked. Matthew Liberatore was moved to the rotation for a few weeks, so his work was sorely missed. Keynan Middleton and Giovanny Gallegos are currently out with injuries. While John King and Ryan Fernandez have filled in admirably, the team's relievers are struggling these last few weeks.

On the year, the Cardinals' bullpen ranks 17th in fWAR, 16th in ERA, 14th in strikeout percentage, and 15th in WHIP. Most pitching stats place the team's relief corps smack in the middle of the league. Luckily, the team's bullpen has pitched the 5th-fewest innings in baseball this year, so they haven't exactly been overworked as a whole.

Regardless, reinforcements are necessary and immediate. Ryan Loutos, a Washington University graduate, was recently called up. Kyle Leahy has filled in well throughout these injuries. Andrew Kittredge has begun showing some cracks in his last few appearances, giving up at least 1 run in his last 4 outings.

Keynan Middleton's return is murky at best and unlikely at worst. Giovanny Gallegos has started a rehab assignment with the Memphis Redbirds, and he threw 1 inning on Friday, striking out 1 and getting two other outs on soft contact -- a pop fly and a groundball. Even if Gallegos does return in the next week, we can't count on his dominance from 2019-2022 returning.

Additions from the outside may be necessary. Woo-Suk Go, Aaron Brooks, and Jorge Lopez were all designated for assignment recently and could help the team. Trade candidates like Tanner Scott of the Miami Marlins, Michael Kopech and Tim Hill of the Chicago White Sox, and Scott Alexander of the Oakland Athletics are all available.

Relief help is necessary, and it must come soon. It's a matter of whom and when rather than if at this point.