Young arms lead the way for Cardinals -

Young arms lead the way for Cardinals

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By Scott Bierman By Scott Bierman

by Scott Bierman / BaseballStL

(BaseballStL) -- It isn’t as big as when The Beatles came to the United States, but the young arms from Memphis are proving to be big hits in St. Louis.

While Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong are the immediate thoughts of what’s on the farm, it’s been Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez and now John Gast who have made an immediate impact on the club less than two months into the season.

“It’s been a huge help and I think it’s a great compliment to our development system,” manager Mike Matheny said. “These guys -- they have the stuff, but they just look ready when they get here and there’s a lot that can be said about that.”

Maness has been nearly perfect in his four appearances. He has allowed only one hit in 4.1 innings pitched to start his big league career. Martinez hasn’t been as dominant, but has struck out six batters in 3.2 innings pitched.

Most recently, Gast made his major league debut and needed only 50 pitches in five scoreless innings before he encountered trouble in a four-run sixth on Tuesday. He still managed to get his first career win in the 10-4 rout of the Mets.

Add Shelby Miller, a September call-up last season, and the Cardinals appear to be set for years with pitching. Miller has posted a 5-2 record with a team-leading 1.58 earned run average in his first seven starts this season.

“You don’t get too far ahead, but you can’t help but think about it as you bring in Gast, Maness, Martinez,” Matheny said.

It’s been a carousel of success for St. Louis so far. Gast, 24, was recalled when Jake Westbrook went on the 15-day disabled list, and Maness, 24, and Martinez, 21, are filling in the holes left by the demoted Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepczynski.

“It just shows me the Cardinals are willing to put young guys out there,” Gast said. “I think I was the oldest guy to pitch tonight, so it just shows you they’re willing to trust us.”

The rookie win total from this year compared to last will show exactly the mark they have left. The Cardinals had only seven wins from rookie pitchers last season. Through a month and a half of this season, the team has posted eight wins from its rookies.

A lot of the post-game chatter about the rookies have included the word “comfortable.” It can be a daunting challenge at first, but the veterans, like Carlos Beltran, say it’s the culture of the clubhouse that makes the newcomers feel wanted.

“We make them feel welcomed and we make them feel a part of it,” the 36-year-old right fielder said. “These guys, they just come here and they just feel comfortable. They don’t look intimidated at all. They look like they belong here. They look like they want to be out there and they’re doing it.”

It’s also something Beltran has never seen in his 16 years at the major league level.

“Being able to replace a guy who throws with another guy who throws harder -- imagine that,” Beltran said. “You don’t see that a lot. It’s fun to watch. There’s no doubt that it’s fun to watch. When I see those guys coming in, I’m just looking forward to see what they’re going to do.”

The Cardinals will send Miller to the mound on Wednesday. It will be his first start since mowing down 27 batters in order on Friday night.

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