(BaseballStL) -- After last night's pitching debacle against the Pirates Cards GM John Mozeliak is making some moves again with this bullpen. Out goes Sam Freeman and Eduardo Sanchez. In comes Maikel Cleto and Barret Browning.
It's the latest example of trying to shuffle things up to try and find some sort of combination that will hold the fort until Mozeliak can make some trades over the next month or so. Last night versus Pittsburgh the bullpen surrendered 7 runs in 4 innings. Now, to be fair, the starter wasn't much better. Adam Wainwright allowed 7 in 5 frames.
But the Cards offense kept the Redbirds in the game up until Waino came out. It was just a 2 run game at that point. The 'pen did nothing to allow the bats a chance to try and make a comeback. Sanchez himself was terrible again (2 runs in his 1 inning to raise his ERA to 6.60) while Freeman actually pitched a shutout inning (while his ERA is still at 6.00 himself). Fernando Salas and Mark Rzepczynski couldn't get anyone out again.
It's not like Mozeliak or Mike Matheny expects Cleto or Browning to come in here and be the answer to all of their problems. Cleto's been here before. Browning's a 27-year old rookie who hadn't even been on the 40-man roster before this. It's quite clear management knows it's got a huge problem with this bullpen.
Outside of closer Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs, I'm not quite sure there's another pitcher out there that they trust. And, heck, even Motte's had his issues at times.
The non-waiver trade deadline is still a month away and teams are still attempting to figure out if they're in contention or not. That means the market won't clarify itself for at least a few more weeks. You can have discussions with teams that you know are going to be sellers...but no one's going to actually pull the trigger on a deal right now.
So what does that mean? That means Mozeliak has got to find some combination of relievers that can hold the fort for a few weeks until the market is set. Because, like I've said before, divisions can be won or lost at any point in time. If the Cards end up losing the NL Central to the Reds by a game or two and you can look back to this time as when they went on a slide...that means this span had a big part in why the team failed.
It's a very curious thing in trying to determine exactly how the Cardinals bullpen got to this point. It was so good last year when they won the World Series. Granted, Octavio Dotel left via free agency and Lance Lynn was needed in the starting rotation. But Mark Rzepczynski and Fernando Salas have been incredible disappointments based on how they pitched last year. How could anyone have predicted that? Even Eduardo Sanchez was supposed to be really good.
These are the things General Managers worry about. It's one thing putting someone in a situation where you are hopeful they can be successful. But it's another when you've got proven production from them and then they, for some reason, just lose it.
There's no "woulda, shoulda, coulda" anymore. This is the scenario the Cardinals find themselves in. Their bullpen is leaking and they don't know if they'll be able to get a huge reinforcement from the rotation (Lynn) because Chris Carpenter's situation is muddled. They may not be able to swing a trade for a few weeks.
Eduardo Sanchez and Sam Freeman weren't getting the job done. Now it's Maikel Cleto and Barret Browning's chance to do something to stop this leak until help arrives.