No relief: Cardinal starters forcing bullpen into logging overtime

No relief: Cardinal starters forcing bullpen into logging overtime

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No relief: Cardinal starters forcing bullpen into logging overtime

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by Mike Bailey / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 22 at 11:06 AM

(BaseballStL) -- If the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen seems a little unkempt, it’s only because shaving and combing their hair might be difficult for them.

With the amount of work the Redbirds’ pen has had to put in since the All-Star break, you’ll have to excuse them if their arms to too sore for personal hygiene.

In the 33 games since the, the collective Cards bullpen has logged more than100 innings of relief, or 11 complete games worth of work.

The reason, of course, is that with the exception of Adam Wainwright, Cardinals starters are not working long into games, putting an unexpected strain on the available talent. The Cards have used Edward Mujica for a four-out save a couple of times, including Wednesday’s win at Milwaukee and have expressed concern about overworking Trevor Rosenthal.

That has caused them to try both Tyler Lyons and Michael Wacha – both projected as starters – in a relief role with only moderate success.

Who are the major short work culprits? Let’s take a look:

Since the All-Star break, the biggest drain on the bullpen has come from Shelby Miller, who worked just 28 innings in his six starts, less than five innings a start. That includes, of course, the two-pitch performance when he was drilled by a line drive against the Dodgers. But even without that, he is still working less than six innings a game. Miller has left up to 26 innings of work to the pen.

Jake Westbrook, whose struggles are well documented, is next. Westbrook started six times since the ASB and essentially started a seventh when he took over for Miller just two pitches into the game. Westbrook in those seven appearances threw only 39 innings, leaving over 20 innings of bullpen work.

Lance Lynn has thrown 44 innings in seven starts, or just about six innings a game, while Joe Kelly, as good as he has been, has just 29 innings in his five starts.

Carlos Martinez failed to make it five innings in his lone start while Michael Wacha just made five and Tyler Lyons lasted six. Only Adam Wainwright (six starts, 43 innings) has averaged at least seven innings a start.

That essentially means that the bullpen is used for at least three and sometimes four innings a night, a pace that takes a toll over the course of a season, particularly since the Cards have had very few off days.

That has caused the Redbird express between Memphis and Busch Stadium to add another bus as players are shuffled back and forth prior to the Sept. 1 call-up.

Hopefully, the pen can last that long.

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