Brad Thompson: Utility Pitcher

Aren DowCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2008

Brad Thompson has started, closed, and done everything in between. Now there is another part-time role that opened up. Thompson is the perfect guy to fill it.

Thompson began the season as a starter, and assuming Mark Mulder limps his way back onto the DL, that number five spot on the staff will be open again. A spot that Thompson should have the opportunity to hold.

Last year he started 17 games, and finished with a record of 8-6. Nothing outstanding, but they are certainly decent numbers for a first season of starting. Quality starts are what the Cardinals are looking for, and Thompson has shown he can provide fairly consistently.

Yes, he did allow two runs Wednesday, but Thompson demonstrated he can put in a decent amount of innings and be effective. Before his fifth inning collapse, he had allowed only one hit.

Even after Jimmy Rollins tripled, Thompson got Shane Victorino to hit a grounder and stop Rollins from scoring on a fielders choice. Thompson has excelled in forcing hitters to keep the ball in the infield, getting 46 grounders in 32 innings this season.

Thompson's starts for the season average out to five innings and less than two runs per start. Only allowing two homers this season, his ERA has been under four for the past month. What more can you ask for from your fifth pitcher?

One concern from watching Wednesday's game were the three walks he gave up. Thompson is not known as having a good strikeout-to-walk ratio. Yet he managed to work through all of them, including a lead-off walk in the second inning.

With Anthony Reyes back off the DL, he can fill Thompson's role as a reliever who can go several innings.

Thompson has had a solid season so far and has done everything asked of him. He should get the chance to fill out the rotation.