Only the Braves’ starting pitching has been better than the Cards so far this season, Wellemeyer’s futility notwithstanding. The pen hasn’t been quite so good, as we found out Friday night, but if the starters continue to pitch well, it may not have to be. Our starters have thrown more than 67% of the team’s innings so far this year and have an FIP of 3.67. Our pen’s FIP is almost a run per game higher than the starters at 4.53 – 12th in the NL. See for yourself:
The bottom line is that, compared to most of the other NL teams, we’re getting a lot out of our starters. They’re pitching relatively deep into games and pitching quite well, by and large. But the success of Carpenter, Pineiro and, of late, Wainwright tends to mask the problems that the bullpen has had. If you look at their ERAs, most of them don’t look too bad. However, if you look a little deeper at their peripherals you’ll notice that some of them – particularly Franklin, McClellan, and Perez – haven’t pitched quite as well as we’d like to believe.
There’s no way that Franklin’s or McClellan’s BABIP will be sustainable throughout the season and Perez has to get that walk rate down if he’s going to get meaningful innings going forward. On the bright side, I’m starting to believe that Jason Motte, Friday night’s meltdown notwithstanding, is the real deal. I hope I’m right.
Related to the bullpen, perhaps someone out there can help me understand this. On Friday, we DFA’d Blaine Boyer – a guy we traded Brian Barton for just a month ago and a pitcher who’s better than at least Brad Thompson and possibly 1 or 2 other guys in the pen – so that we could recall Jess Todd from Memphis. He’s pitching well at Memphis and is going to help our pen, right? Um….no. The plan from the beginning is to call Todd up FOR 1 GAME ONLY!!!!! To do this, we have to add him to our 40 man roster, thus leaving only 1 spot vacant, AND start his arbitration clock. We did this so that he could pitch 1 game in relief – in a game we lost 11-4. After that one game, we send him back to Memphis – again, this was the plan all along – and recall starter Blake Hawksworth, who’s been pitching well for the Redbirds. Rather than having him start in Lohse’s spot Monday, he goes into the pen and reliever Brad Thompson will take Lohse’s start instead. Now, Hawksworth ostensibly couldn’t be called up a day early b/c he last pitched on May 31. Then we used him for 2 innings on June 6. Could we not have used him for the 1.2 innings that Todd pitched on June 5 and kept the space vacant on the 40 man roster? Could we not have kept Boyer on the roster 1 more game and kept the space vacant on the 40 man roster? What in God’s name is going on? And still, despite the fact that our starters are throwing more than 2/3 of the innings – a greater % than at least 9 other NL teams – we still insist on keeping 8 relievers in the pen while allowing Wainwright and Wellemeyer to pinch hit! Some of this absolutely defies explanation. There was absolutely no need to add Todd to the 40 man roster or start his clock. We could have used Boyer Friday night or DFA’d him and called up Hawksworth and used him instead. I know it’s tantamount to heresy to question the Cards’ roster management but some of this is absolutely absurd! And yet somehow we’re 7 over .500! Wow!