St. Louis Cardinals Must Address Bullpen Or Risk Falling Out Of Contention

By Todd Bennett
Jason Motte
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

As hard to believe as it may be for St. Louis Cardinals fans, a team can score a low amount of runs and still contend, and in fact, even win a championship. A team can have stellar pitching and defense and survive — the 2010 San Francisco Giants, who won the World Series, are a prime example. Ranking ninth in runs, the club still put it all together and rode their arms all the way to the title.

The 2013 Cardinals led the league in runs scored but largely lacked power. This season, with out the RISP hitting prowess, their scoring ability is way down. Fortunately the starting pitching has been terrific, but the weak spot has been the bullpen. This is surprising as with flamethrowers Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal and left-hander Kevin Siegrist, this was thought to be a strength.

However, as the season has progressed, it is clear that flamethrowers can at least temporarily flame out. Rosenthal has struggled with his mechanics, Martinez with his concentration and Siegrist is on the DL. This leaves a combination of slow throwing vets and gutsy comebacks like the one seen with Jason Motte, who is still trying to find his footing after Tommy John surgery.

It may turn out that the key components of the bullpen are not currently in the pen. In need of a lefty, it is entirely possible that Jaime Garcia could be shifted to the pen when injured SP Joe Kelly returns, and were the team to bolster its rotation, Shelby Miller could be found in a long relief role — a a need the club has had since the beginning of the season. However it is handled, adjustments must be made because the team is leaking too much oil at the end of games and struggling to keep the engine churning.

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