How did we make the playoffs with this starting pitching?

Quick: Name the players with the 2nd or 3rd most IP for the Cardinals this season.

Hint: They have 104 IP and 82 IP respectively.

For perspective, I went back over 30 years and couldn't find a single Cardinals team that didn't have at least 3 pitchers with more than 105 IP. Of course, we are a model franchise, with a strong history over the last few decades, so this year isn't setting any all time records.

When you go back through the years, you can see that the strong teams, like '04 and '05, got a lot of innings from their top 5 starters, even though you probably remember those teams more for their hitters than their starters.

If we look at the playoff teams this year, you can see that they tend to have more pitchers pitching 100+ innings than the bad teams. Here are the playoff teams and the number of pitchers they had with 100+ IP

Astros – 6

Giants, Brewers, White Sox, Red Sox-5

Rays, Dodgers, Braves – 4

Yankees - 3

(if they get lucky this week) Seattle, Toronto – 4

Out of the 30 MLB teams, only 3 others besides the Cardinals had 2 or less pitchers with 100 IP. They are:

Pittsburgh, Mets – 2

Angels – 1 (Ohtani)

Of course, you can have pitchers that pitch 100 innings and are terrible. For example, Baltimore gave over 100 innings to two pitchers with ERAs over 6. And of all pitchers with 100+ innings this season, the third worst belongs to our own JA Happ (who doesn't qualify as pitching 100 innings for the Cardinals but certainly has pitched 100 innings overall).

The point is that it's really, really hard to make it through a season without some stability in the starting rotation, and we haven't had it. Those with the 2nd and 3rd most innings pitched are Kim and Martinez. Our current rotation seems to include Mikolas and Woodford, who have 1 and 0 quality starts respectively.

Our rotation has been Wain-o and pray for rain-o.

It makes the streak and making the playoffs that much more impressive.