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St. Louis Cardinals' relievers take a spring training beating for science

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Fear not: The Cardinals' relievers aren't bad, they're just throwing bad pitches.

Hi!
Hi!
Mike Ehrmann

One of my favorite recurring spring training stories is finally in full bloom for 2013: The St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen has given up piles of runs of late, and Derrick Goold reveals that it's because—in addition to the obvious sample-size and spring training caveats—Edward Mujica and Jason Motte are working on new pitches. Unfortunately they're boring pitches (no side-session knuckleballs or screwballs this year), but I'll take what I can get.

Work on those new pitches might be proceeding a little slower than anticipated, but I have to wonder whether Jason Motte isn't dealing with a little new-pitch hubris after last year's successful addition of a slowball to his existing fastball/speedball/quickball/four-seam-hardthrow arsenal.

We talked a couple of days ago about players who invite correlation/causation problems, and to the list we made then you can probably go ahead and add every single reliever who has ever lived. It could well be that Jason Motte has working all spring on his turnballs and spinballs, and pitching poorly as a result. He might go ahead and run a regular-season ERA over four in 2013 anyway, because he's going to throw 70 innings.

And that could be for any number of reasons. It could be a couple of bad pitches, a bum arm, discomfort with his role, whatever. But should it happen, I'll probably just settle for "because he's a reliever."