Shelby Miller, RHP
2013 Postseason Stats: IP, H (HR), ER, K (1 G)
Season Highlight: 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.
NLDS Review: Given his season-long struggles against the Pittsburgh Pirates and inconsistent performance following the All-Star break, Miller was relegated to the bullpen for the NLDS and yielded a solo home run in his only inning of work.
Potential NLCS Impact: With the Pirates eliminated from the postseason, Miller is more likely to return to the starting rotation for the NLCS. While Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright have been tapped to start the first three games of the series, there’s a realistic chance that Miller will be named as the Cardinals’ Game 4 starter over the struggling Lance Lynn.
Michael Wacha, RHP
2013 Postseason Stats: 1-0, 7.1 IP, H, ER, 2 BB, 9 K (1 GS)
NLDS Review: Wacha was arguably the Cardinals’ hottest pitcher heading into their NLDS matchup against the Pirates, so it wasn’t a complete surprise that manager Mike Matheny opted to start him in a must-win Game 4 on the road. As I’m sure you already know, the 22-year-old was electric in the outing, carrying a no-hit bid into the eighth inning before surrendering a solo home run to Pedro Alvarez—the only hit he allowed on the day. Throwing 60 of 96 pitches for a strike, the right-hander recorded nine strikeouts compared to only two walks.
Potential NLCS Impact: Besides staff ace Adam Wainwright, Wacha represents St. Louis’ best chance of winning a postseason game. While he’ll struggle periodically like any young hurler, Wacha has proven to be nearly unhittable when firing on all cylinders. And considering he’s scheduled to oppose Clayton Kershaw in Game 2 of the NLCS, the Cardinals will need another lights-out performance from their rookie right-hander.
Trevor Rosenthal, RHP
2013 Postseason Stats: SV, 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K (2 G)
NLDS Review: Rosenthal has embraced his new role as the Cardinals’ closer after inheriting the gig from Edward Mujica during the final month of the regular season. The flame-throwing right-hander tossed a pair of scoreless innings in the NLDS, picking up his first career postseason save (while securing a win for Michael Wacha) in Game 4.
Potential NLCS Impact: There may not be a better reliever—possibly Kenley Jansen—still active in the postseason than Rosenthal. Boasting three electric pitches, highlighted a triple-digit fastball, the 23-year-old right-hander has the ability to make the game’s top hitters look foolish. Rosenthal will continue to get the ball in the ninth inning for the Cardinals in the NLCS, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll be anything short of dominating.
Carlos Martinez, RHP
2013 Postseason Stats: 0-1, 2 IP, H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K (3 G)
NLDS Review: Carrying a streak of five consecutive scoreless appearances heading into the postseason, the 22-year-old right-hander has emerged as the Cardinals’ go-to late-inning reliever, bridging the gap between the team’s starters/long-relievers and closer Trevor Rosenthal. In the NLDS, Martinez appeared in more games (three) than any other St. Louis reliever and, for the most part, pitched well despite giving up two earned runs in Game 3.
Potential NLCS Impact: Featuring an explosive upper-90s fastball, plus changeup and swing-and-miss slider, Martinez has become another legitimate weapon in the Cardinal bullpen. The right-hander held the Dodgers to just one extra-base hit in 24 at-bats during the regular season, so expect him to keep entering the game in the late innings with the game on the line.