Is Dusty Blake finally showing his ability to unlock the Cardinals pitchers?

The Cardinals' first year pitching coach, Dusty Blake, has faced a lot of criticism this year. Are the results finally showing the impact the Cardinals hoped he would make this year?
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals season has been a mess. There's no way around that. The biggest culprit of their issues throughout the season has been their mess of a pitching staff.

The Cardinals had a 4.55 team ERA during the first half of the season, failing both in the rotation and in the bullpen on a night-in and night-out basis. Many have pointed to the Cardinals' pitching coach Dusty Blake as part of the problem, and it was hard to argue against them based on there being no other track record for Blake to lean on.

Blake was touted as the kind of coach who was going to help the Cardinals' pitching staff innovate in terms of player development, and specifically, help their staff find more swing-and-miss stuff in their arsenals. Like with Jeff Albert in the past though, a coach can only be helpful if the players truly take their advice and work with it, and it looks like the results are finally showing up for the Cardinals.

During the second half of the season, the Cardinals' pitching staff ranks 12th in all of baseball with a 4.29 team ERA, ahead of teams like the Astros, Yankees, Angels, Marlins, Braves, and Diamondbacks. While their strikeout numbers have not improved much as a staff, there are multiple arms that have seen vast improvements under Blake.

During the first of the season, he helped Jordan Hicks become one of the best relievers in all of baseball after looking like a DFA candidate early on. After a disastrous start in the rotation, Matz went to the bullpen and worked on his arsenal, looking like a valuable contributor to the rotation ever since.

Names like JoJo Romero, Dakota Hudson, and Matthew Liberatore have all seen better results as the year has gone on as well. Even Zack Thompson, after imploding as a starter in Memphis this season, just came out and had 8 strikeouts over 4 innings as a spot starter for the Cardinals.

As with all coaches, it's hard to quanitfy how much of a player's improvement can be credited to a coach's influence, but at the very least, it's time to consider the fact that Blake may end up being the right coach to help invoate this pitching staff moving forward.


The Cardinals will be adding multiple arms this offseason to their staff, but Blake's work with the rest of the staff this season will be critical to helping the Cardinals have a strong back-end of their rotation, and the necessary depth, to be a true contender in 2024.

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