Even With Carp Coming Back, We Need More

Justin HulseyCorrespondent IMay 8, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 04:  Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Boston Red Sox on May 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Red Sox defeated the Yankees 6-4  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


Coming into the season, everybody was freaking out over the Cardinals pitching staff. I heard that our pitching was equal to “paper and glue”.

We had Wainwright as our ace, we were hoping for a similar 2008 season from Lohse, hoping the rejuvenated Wellemeyer kept it up, hoping Pineiro came in with the same contract-year approach that Lohse had, and of course we had that Carpenter guy.

Speaking of the Carpenter guy, he is doing great. Word is he’s coming back within the next ten days. Carp had a bullpen session yesterday, and ANOTHER bullpen session today. He is starting to gain form once again. Coaches say there is a good chance that he will not make any rehab starts, and just join the rotation ASAP. If I was John Mozeliak, I would give him one start at the AAA level. After that, I would see how the start went. If it went relatively well then bring him back in. It is obvious that we can survive with him on the DL, so why not make sure everything is okay before bringing him back into the rotation?

Another weak point in our pitching staff was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Our bullpen was pisspoor in 2008. We watched blown save, after blown save, after another blown save. Jason Isringhausen is out, Mark Worrell was traded to the Padres, and Looper was cut loose as well. So basically we lost our closer; who we were relying on shutting the door for another couple years. Not only that, but we lost a guy that gave us a good performance every fifth day. Looper was underrated. Last year was undoubtedly his best as a closer – ERA barely above four. He is also very versatile. If we have a young spot starter come in and dominate, we can always move Looper to the ‘pen. Hell, the dude was a reliever for nearly ten straight years. It’s often easier said than done with converting SP to RP, but it would have been simple with Looper.

So coming in, here is how our staff looks and how they have done so far:

1) Wainwright… 3-1, 4.08 ERA, 30 Ks
2) Carpenter (DL)… 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 9 Ks
3) Lohse… 3-1, 3.22 ERA, 23 Ks
4) Piniero… 4-1, 3.24 ERA, 10 Ks
5) Wellemeyer… 3-2, 4.75 ERA, 20 Ks
5) Boggs… 1-0, 3.50 ERA, 19 Ks

CP) Franklin… 9 saves, 0.00 ERA, 11 Ks
SU) Motte… 6 holds, 3.55 ERA, 10 Ks
RP) McClellan… 3 holds, 2.70 ERA, 13 Ks
RP) Perez… 2 holds, 2.25 ERA, 11 Ks
RP) Boyer… 1 hold, 3.60 ERA, 5 Ks
RP) Reyes… 4 holds, 4.00, 8 Ks
RP) Miller… 1 hold, 4.32 ERA, 10 Ks

After the Opening Day debacle (trust me, I was there), everybody was ready to throw in the towel on this team and, especially, our bullpen. Motte was the most hated dude in St. Louis. For example, when leaving the ballpark, a loud-mouth fan yells, “Hey Motte, I think my slow-pitch softball team needs a f***** catcher if you are interested!” It was funny at the time, but actually pretty ignorant. Little did the guy know… Motte actually was once a catcher!

After that game, Motte and the rest of the ‘pen have been lights out. Since that memorable 9thinning, Motte has pitched 11.2 innings and only allowed one run. He has been dominant in the setup role, but will one day be our closer. He has all the makings of a great, shutdown, closer. The confidence and swagger he has is making some Cardinal fans despise him. Not me. That is a characteristic that EVERY closer needs. He needs to come in with the mindset of “I am the best closer ever”… Basically, in his head, he needs to know he is the shit.

All St. Louis fans, including me, were yelling at Mozeliak saying “GET A RELIEVER! WE DON’T EVEN HAVE A FREAKING CLOSER!” Nobody was really sure what was going to happen when we reached the late innings. However, now that we are through the first sixth of the season, it seems like the focus of concern has shifted. Granted, MO did go out and get Blaine Boyer, who I believe has some unreal potential as a reliever OR starter, but he isn’t the solution we were calling for. He may end up being Todd Wellemeyer in a nutshell, which would be a good thing, but he will only be a decent reliever at best this year.

In early-April we would have done anything for a good late inning type of guy, but I think we will be okay there. In fact, I think we will continue to have a very solid bullpen. If I was John Mozeliak, I would go get a starting pitcher right now................