Michael Wacha, RHP
2013 Stats: 4-1, 64.2 IP, 2.78 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .219 BAA, 65/19 K/BB (15 G/9 GS)
Michael Wacha enters the postseason coming off the best month of his big league career. In September, the 22-year-old right-hander posted a 1.72 ERA and .198 opponent batting average over five starts, and came within one out of a no-hitter in his final start of the regular season on September 24 against the Washington Nationals.
Wacha is arguably the Cardinals’ hottest starter heading into their NLDS matchup against Pittsburgh. So, don’t be surprised if he’s tabbed to start either Game 2 or Game 3.
Seth Maness, RHP
2013 Stats: 5-2, 62 IP, 2.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .281 BAA, 35/13 K/BB (66 G)
While he doesn’t boast a power arm like every other pitcher in the Cardinals’ bullpen, Maness’ plus command and knack for inducing ground-ball outs (70 percent ground-ball rate) has made him an asset as a middle reliever this season. Expect him to serve a similar role in the team’s postseason bullpen.
Shelby Miller, RHP
2013 Stats: 15-9, 173.1 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .234 BAA, 169/57 K/BB (31 GS)
Shelby Miller was outstanding during the first half of the season, posting a 2.92 ERA and 112/29 K/BB ratio in 104.2 innings over 18 starts. However, the 22-year-old noticeably wore down following the All-Star break and logged only one quality start in August.
While he didn’t miss as many bats as he did earlier in the season, Miller rebounded nicely in September with a 2.76 ERA over five starts. More importantly, he generated some momentum heading into the postseason.
Miller received a taste of playoff atmosphere in 2012 as a reliever in the NLCS, so taking the mound this October should be a somewhat familiar experience. Expect him to be named one of the Cardinals’ starters in the NLDS.
Carlos Martinez, RHP
2013 Stats: 2-1, 28.1 IP, 5.08 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .282 BAA, 24/9 K/BB (21 G/1 GS)
Aside from an ugly start on September 17 in which he allowed four earned runs on five hits in 1.2 innings against Colorado, Carlos Martinez was impressive out of the bullpen over the final month of the season.
Carrying a streak of five consecutive scoreless appearances heading into the NLDS, the 22-year-old right-hander stands a legitimate chance to make the postseason roster thanks to an explosive upper-90s fastball, plus changeup and swing-and-miss slider. If he does, then expect Martinez to be used on a matchup basis in the seventh and eighth innings.
Trevor Rosenthal, RHP
2013 Stats: 2-4, 3 SV, 75.1 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .223 BAA, 108/20 K/BB (74 G)
Trevor Rosenthal put himself on the map in the 2012 playoffs with seven dominant outings during the NLDS and NLCS. Logging 8.2 scoreless innings as the Cardinals’ setup man, the flame-throwing right-hander allowed just a pair of hits and walks while striking out 15 batters.
This season was more of the same, as Rosenthal established himself as arguably the top eighth-inning arm in baseball by fanning 108 batters in only 75.1 innings (12.9 K/9).
Rosenthal will serve as the Cardinals’ closer during the playoffs after inheriting the gig in the wake of Edward Mujica’s late-season struggles. While he lacks experience with only three career saves, Rosenthal possesses both the stuff and poise to excel in the role.
Kevin Siegrist, LHP
2013 Stats: 3-1, 39.2 IP, 0.45 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .128 BAA, 50/18 K/BB (45 G)
Kevin Siegrist is perhaps one of the more underrated relievers in the game. Added to the 40-man roster last November following a breakout performance in the Arizona Fall League, the 24-year-old emerged as the Cardinals’ go-to left-hander out of the bullpen following his arrival in early June.
Heading into the postseason, Siegrist is riding a streak of 28 scoreless appearances dating back to August 1—that’s right, he has not allowed a run in two months. During that span, he has posted a 30/10 K/BB ratio in 25 innings while allowing just 12 hits. And it’s not like he’s only effective against same-side hitters; Siegrist has been equally successful against right- (0.48 ERA, .138 BAA) and left-handed hitters (0.43 ERA, .118 BAA).
Expect him to keep working the eighth and ninth inning for the Cardinals this October.