Vaughn: Forget egos; put best pitchers on the mound

Vaughn: Forget egos; put best pitchers on the mound

Credit: Getty Images

ST LOUIS - OCTOBER 24: Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during Game Three of the 2006 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 24, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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by Doug Vaughn, News 4 Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 11:26 AM

(BaseballStL) -- What does a team do when they have seven starters, but only five spots in the rotation? Hopefully the Cardinals will put their best pitchers on the mound, regardless of whose feelings might be hurt. The games are too important at this point to do anything else.

The Cardinals may soon have both Chris Carpenter and Shelby Miller available to pitch. Carpenter is making rapid progress from his surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He's been throwing to hitters, and if all continues to go well, he could be back in a little more than a week. After some rough starts in Memphis, Miller got himself turned around in a big way and was named the Pacific Coast League's pitcher of the month for August. It's unclear at this point how Mike Matheny plans to use either guy, as a starter or reliever, but at the moment the Cardinals have a greater need for starting pitchers.

Joe Kelly's quality start against the Mets on Sunday was the first for a Cardinals pitcher in more than a week. Jake Westbrook has had three rough starts in a row. Jaime Garcia has been shaky. Even Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse had rough outings their last starts. Wainwright and Lohse aren't going anywhere. But if Matheny believes that Carpenter and/or Miller give the team a better chance to win than Westbrook, Garcia or Kelly, he should go ahead and make the change in the rotation. Egos need to be put aside. The club needs to do whatever it takes to nail down a wildcard spot, even if veterans like Westbrook and Garcia would be unhappy with a move to the bullpen.

Several teams have decided to go with six man rotations at this point of the season to give their starters an extra day of rest late in the season with the innings piling up. That might work well for the Cardinals, too. While it's true that Chris Carpenter hasn't pitched since Game 7 of last year's World Series, he deserves a shot whenever he's ready. I can't think of a better shot in the arm for a team than to get a World Series hero and a former Cy Young award winner back on the mound for the final days of the pennant race.

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