Feldman: Bullpen issues reach critical mass

Feldman: Bullpen issues reach critical mass

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 9: Reliever Mitchell Boggs #41 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on April 9, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Reds 5-1. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Print
Email
|

by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Well, this is frustrating, huh?
 
No, the Cards didn't blow another save Sunday afternoon against the Pirates but the only problem any rationale fan is concerned with right now did nothing to alleviate said concern.
 
That'd be the bullpen.  To be more accurate, the bullpen with the worst ERA in all of baseball.  That's right.  The worst.  5.83 to be exact.  In fact, the Cardinals bullpen has given up more runs this season than the starting rotation.  How crazy is that?  Yes, in just 66 and a third innings Cards relievers have surrendered 43 runs.  The starting rotation?  Just 37 runs allowed in 152 and two-thirds innings.
 
Quite a problem isn't it?
 
At this point, there's really only one relief pitcher the Cards can trust at this point.  And that's the de facto closer in Edward Mujica.  He's been outstanding and there's no denying that.  But aside from him?  Check out these numbers.
 
Mitchell Boggs: 12.66 ERA
Joe Kelly: 8.31 ERA
Marc Rzepczynski: 7.88 ERA
Fernando Salas: 4.22 ERA
Trevor Rosenthal: 4.05 ERA (.296 opponents batting average)
 
That's 5/7 of the Redbirds bullpen with an earned run average above four and 3/7 with one above SEVEN.
 
It's only April, I'm well aware thank you very much, so there's oodles of time for this problem to sort itself out.  I find it very hard to believe these arms will continue to struggle as much as they have for the rest of the season.  They're just too talented.
 
Remember, Joe Torre personally called Mitchell Boggs this offseason to ask him to be on Team USA for the World Baseball Classic.  Boggs is no slouch.  He's just struggling.
 
Trevor Rosenthal made such an impression in the postseason that when he made his first appearance of the season this year against the Diamondbacks both teams were on the top step of its respective dugouts to watch this fire baller throw.  Rosenthal's no slouch.  He's just struggling.
 
The issue here is that you don't know how long to wait for these problems to correct themselves before making a move.  How long can you be patient before deciding you can't be patient anymore?
 
Me, personally?  I'd strongly consider promoting top prospect Michael Wacha and putting him in the bullpen at some point.  We've been comparing him to Adam Wainwright on and off the field since spring training.  Why not allow him to go on the same career path as Wainwright by serving an apprenticeship out of the bullpen?  That's what the Cards ace did in 2006 remember?
 
It's too soon to make any knee jerk reactions.  But the clock is ticking.  The Cardinals cannot keep giving away games with a bullpen that has the league's worst ERA for much longer.

Print
Email
|