After an improbable run to the NLCS last season, the St. Louis Cardinals have an even bigger challenge coming their way in 2013 as the pitching staff is depleted to say the least.
Although Carlos Beltran and the offense had a magnificent season last year, it was the Cardinals pitching that propelled them into the MLB postseason. With a team ERA of 3.64, the Cardinals staff was full of top-performers, however a large burden will now be placed on the entire staff, especially 18-game-winner Lance Lynn.
Kyle Lohse led the team with an .842 winning percentage, but he remains a free agent and is unlikely to pitch for the Cards in 2013. With Lohse out of town and news that Chris Carpenter will miss the entire season with a bad shoulder, there is some uncertainty surrounding the team’s pitching staff.
With half of the staff in shambles, Lynn will have to follow-up his ridiculous campaign in 2012 with an even better one this year. If you had gone to Cardinals camp this time last year and said “Lynn will win 18 games” they would probably look at you like you’re crazy. Now, the Cards have high expectations for Lynn who must anchor a starting rotation that is looking to compete with the Cincinnati Reds for the NL Central title.
Lynn was a first round pick back in 2008 and remained a relative unknown prior to bursting onto the scene with an All-Star appearance and 18 wins last year.
Mike Matheny will have to work some magic if he hopes to bring this team back to the playoffs, however Lynn can take this rotation and run with it if he pours in another great season.