After shitting the bed his last four starts, Luke Weaver gives us 5 IP and 0 ER. Yeah! Sorta. I mean it was the Padres after all. Rather than debate whether San Diego is a 4A or big league team, let's just agree it's not a very good lineup (their OPS leader bats lead off, 'nuff said). I'm still hopeful Weaver has found his mojo and can start to move away from his four game string of very bad starts (a run an inning bad).
With Jack Flaherty and, soon to be, Alex Reyes knocking on the rotation door, it might make sense for Luke Weaver to be the long man the bullpen has been missing since Bud Norris vacated that role for closer. Matt Bowman could be considered a candidate for long man except his pitch counts are ridonkulous. Here are his pitch counts from three games in which he got four outs: 31, 34, 42.
Which brings us back to Weaver. It took him 92 pitches to get through 5 innings. In his 8 starts this season, he's made it to the 7th inning once and the 6th inning just twice. And, in case you think Friday night's game was an anomaly, Weaver's season average is, get this, 5 IP/start and 92 pitches/start. The old Memphis shuttle isn't deep enough to carry a starter who requires that many bullpen innings every fifth day. I'm convinced the Cardinals have a good bullpen but even good bullpens burn out under a heavy workload.
Maybe Flaherty can pitch the back half of Weaver's games? A tag team approach. As for the fifth spot in the rotation, Adam Wainwright showed us again he either isn't right or longer has it. That's a long running debate in Cardinal Nation I won't weigh in on here except to say compelling arguments can be made either way. I'd say Waino gets about two more starts before Alex Reyes is ready to take Waino's spot. I suppose the Cardinals will give Wainwright a shot in the bullpen and, if he's ineffective there, allow him to save face by DL-ing him for the season. On behalf of Cardinal fans everywhere, I don't want to see Wainwright go out like this but I don't want to see him drag this team down trying to find something he no longer has.
On a brighter note, how about those BP options?! Brett Cecil's return proved timely with Ryan Sheriff going back to Memphis. It's nice to have one effective lefty in the pen (sorry Tyler Lyons, I can't count you in that group). John Brebbia is looking even better than last year and he was pretty damned good last year: 2.44 ERA/0.93 WHIP/.193 BAA. Greg Holland may finally be rounding into form with four consecutive appearances now without giving up a run. In fact, just one hit in those 4 IP. The 3 walks and 1 strikeout indicate he's still not entirely right. And a shout out to Jordan Hicks who finally got his first strikeout in his last six appearances. How does the hardest thrower in the world have only 8 K in 18.2 IP?
As for the Cardinals hitters? Housekeeping! You're going to need a bigger cart. Jedd Gyorko, keep posting that sweet ass slash line: .348/.466/.652.