The 2013 season is now two weeks old. The St. Louis Cardinals have played 12 games. With 150 still to come, it’s difficult to panic already. But after yesterday’s 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cardinals are tied for the National League lead in one painful pitching category: blown saves, with four.
With the Chicago Cubs, no less.
But there’s unfortunately a pitching stat in which the Cardinals lead the majors that’s even worse: bullpen ERA. Yep, the relievers’ collective 6.09 ERA is No. 30 at the moment, while the Cubs 5.82 is No. 28. Interestingly, the Washington Nationals are between the two at 5.90.
It won’t be a surprise that Mitchell Boggs, who had a blown save yesterday and during the 16-inning game in Arizona on April 3, has the highest ERA at 11.37. That’s largely the result of the six earned runs he allowed in the ninth inning of the home opener a week ago.
Trevor Rosenthal is the owner of the other two blown saves, from April 3 as well and from the home opener. His ERA is not terrible, 4.50, but he wasn’t necessarily effective yesterday either as he gave up a single and then a home run to Ryan Braun to start the eighth and end the Cardinals scoreless innings streak at 39.
The timing of Boggs and Rosenthal having bad days on the same days is obviously not good. Fernando Salas has mostly had those same bad days: he was the losing pitcher yesterday, as he gave up a 10th inning homer to Jonathan Lucroy, and in the 16-inning game on April 3.
But what’s the solution?
It is just two weeks into the season, after all, and every year has its ups and downs over the course of six months. The starters — who’ve been stellar and currently they have the lowest ERA in the majors at 1.82 — will hit rough spots. We already know the offense will be streaky again, as it has been already.
Yet is a change needed for the bullpen?
That’s where you come in. What’s your opinion — is there a genuine problem? Is it best just to stay the course? Should the team make a change at closer? Should they sign a closer?
I’m interested to know your reaction. Make your choice, or add another beyond the few I’ve suggested based on Twitter comments I’ve noticed in the past week.
One of the good things about baseball: it goes on, and tonight the Cardinals begin a series in Pittsburgh against the on-a-roll Pirates. They came back yesterday from a 5-0 deficit in the seventh inning to win 10-7 and sweep the Reds. Game time is 6:05 p.m. Central, with Lance Lynn and James McDonald pitching.
Christine Coleman is the lead St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.