Who Is Favorite to Land Fifth Rotation Spot for St. Louis Cardinals?

By Michael Terrill
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals have a good idea of what their starting rotation is going to look like for the 2013 Major League Baseball season, with the exception of their fifth spot. Who is the favorite to land the important job?

St. Louis is at the point where they are judging Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly on a game-by-game basis to see who can handle the starting role. The Cardinals sent both players to the mound in Tuesday’s contest against the Miami Marlins.

Miller started the game and posted four quality innings. He gave up only one hit and one walk and did not allow 11 straight batters to reach base before he was pulled from the game. His earned run average in Spring Training dropped from 7.04 to 4.63 in the process. Meanwhile, Kelly took over and went three innings. He surrendered four earned runs on eight hits, which raises his ERA from a respectable 2.25 to 4.91. However, Kelly did record a RBI single with two outs in the sixth inning that ended up proving to be the game-winning score.

Kelly was considered the favorite to clinch the final rotation spot going into the game against the Marlins, but Miller’s performance may have given him the slight edge.

With only nine games left until Opening Day, the Cardinals will have to go with whichever pitcher has put forth the best effort in their most recent outing. Both players have roughly one more opportunity to showcase their talents to the coaching staff, and then it is out of their hands.

If I had to choose between the two players right now, I would go with Miller. Both men have allowed six earned runs in four games, but Kelly has given up two more hits and struck out nine less batters. Not to mention, Kelly has allowed opponents to bat .302 against him while Miller has kept hitters to a .234 batting average.

Michael Terrill is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelTerrill, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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