While everybody seems to be talking about LaRussa's (and the Brewers') decision to employ the Crazy 8 line-up again, I keep thinking about that other, less successful experiment last season--the six-man rotation LaRussa employed in August. It effectively derailed whatever playoff chances the Cardinals still had, but I think a lot of that is more due to Mike Maroth and Kip F. Wells being integral parts rather than the theory itself.
Even with the injury woes, the Cardinals have a good number of pitchers with starting experience; in addition to Wainwright and Looper, they have Thompson, Wellemeyer, and Reyes with Parisi from the farm and, in a pinch, Franklin. That combined with at least one of Pineiro and Clement being ready within the first month of the season. Even if they manage to pick up another starter, the number of guys who can make a start are there. The real issue is how durable those arms are. Wainwright is the only one with 200 innings at the major league level, that was just last season.
So, I think about the six-man rot. It could allow pitchers to go more innings in fewer starts, but I'm not sure if it would work. Would a longer lay-off actually cause more injuries? Or would it allow the Cardinals to protect a fragile but talented staff over the long haul of the season?