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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Westbrook’s first Cardinals start: A historical take

A look at how starting pitchers acquired in deadline deals prior to Jake Westbrook fared for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jake Westbrook (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)Newly-acquired St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook will take the mound for the first time wearing the Birds on the Bat on Monday night against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium.

Time will tell if the 32-year-old steps into the Brad Penny void and helps lead the Cardinals into the post-season and beyond, but that is certainly why the free agent-to-be was acquired in the controversial trade that cost the club outfielder Ryan Ludwick.

Looking back at successful deadline moves for starting pitching made by the organization in the past, the name Woody Williams first comes to mind. Acquired from San Diego for an end-of-career Ray Lankford nine years ago, the then-34-year-old Williams went 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA the rest of the way in 2001.

Like others that would follow, such as Joel Pineiro, picked up from the Red Sox in 2007, Williams would remain a Cardinal beyond that season. Others, such as 2006 World Series star Jeff Weaver, quickly left for more money (though less success) elsewhere. Yet others, such as Chuck Finley in 2002, called St. Louis their last stop before retiring from the game.

Researcher Tom Orf pulled the list of 15 starting pitchers added by the Cardinals over the last half-century prior to Westbrook and their results with St. Louis for the remainder of that season.

Cardinals starting pitchers acquired in mid-season trades, initial season with team, 1960-2010

Traded Pitcher Year Age W L ERA G GS GF CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO
6/22/2007 Mike Maroth 2007 29 0 5 10.7 14 7 2 0 0 38 71 56 45 11 17 23
7/31/2007 Joel Piniero 2007 28 6 4 3.96 11 11 0 0 0 63.2 69 29 28 11 12 40
7/5/2006 Jeff Weaver 2006 29 5 4 5.18 15 15 0 0 0 83.1 99 49 48 16 26 45
8/22/2003 Sterling Hitchcock 2003 32 5 1 3.79 8 6 0 0 0 38 34 17 16 8 14 32
7/19/2002 Chuck Finley 2002 39 7 4 3.8 14 14 0 1 1 85.1 69 41 36 7 30 83
8/29/2002 Jamey Wright 2002 27 2 0 4.8 4 3 0 0 0 15 15 8 8 2 12 8
8/2/2001 Woody Williams 2001 34 7 1 2.28 11 11 0 3 1 75 54 22 19 7 19 52
7/31/1998 Darren Oliver 1998 27 4 4 4.26 10 10 0 0 0 57 64 31 27 7 23 29
6/13/1997 Fernando Valenzuela 1997 36 0 4 5.56 5 5 0 0 0 22.2 22 19 14 2 14 10
6/16/1995 Mike Morgan 1995 35 5 6 3.88 17 17 0 1 0 106 114 48 46 10 25 46
6/15/1983 Neil Allen 1983 25 10 6 3.7 25 18 3 4 2 121 122 55 50 6 48 74
6/15/1977 Tom Underwood 1977 23 6 9 4.95 19 17 2 1 0 100 104 61 55 7 57 66
5/28/1975 Ron Reed 1975 32 9 8 3.23 24 24 0 7 2 175 181 79 63 4 37 99
8/15/1974 Claude Osteen 1974 34 0 2 4.37 8 2 2 0 0 22.2 26 14 11 1 11 6
6/15/1963 Lew Burdette 1963 36 3 8 3.77 21 14 3 3 0 98 106 50 41 6 16 45

Going one step further, we also offer the first-game results of each of the earlier 15. As a group, they went 7-7 with one no-decision as the Cardinals won seven and lost eight of those debut contests.

Williams and Neil Allen, added in the terrible Keith Hernandez trade in 1983, held their opponents scoreless in their respective Cardinals debuts. In 1975, Ron Reed yielded just two unearned runs while Sterling Hitchcock, added in 2003, tossed a scoreless inning in his debut (in relief). Only Lew Burdette in 1963 threw a complete game.

Cardinals starting pitchers acquired in mid-season trades, first game with team, 1960-2010

Traded Pitcher Debut Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
6/22/2007 Mike Maroth Jun 25 @ NYM L,1-2 GS-8 7 2 1 1 2 4 1
7/31/2007 Joel Piniero Aug 4 @ WSN L,1-12 GS-5 L(1-2) 5 7 5 4 2 2 1
7/5/2006 Jeff Weaver Jul 17 ATL L,3-15 GS-4 L(3-11) 4 8 6 6 2 1 2
8/22/2003 Sterling Hitchcock Aug 23 PHI W,5-3 6-6 W(2-3) 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
7/19/2002 Chuck Finley Jul 21 @ PIT W,8-4 GS-6 W(5-11) 6 7 4 3 2 8 0
8/29/2002 Jamey Wright Aug 30 @ CHC W,6-3 GS-6 W(6-13) 6 6 2 2 3 3 0
8/2/2001 Woody Williams Aug 4 FLA W,3-0 GS-7 W(9-8) 6 7 0 0 0 5 0
7/31/1998 Darren Oliver Aug 3 @ MIL L,5-6 GS-6 L(6-8) 5 9 6 3 2 1 1
6/13/1997 Fernando Valenzuela Jun 17 @ MIL L,3-4 GS-6 L(2-9) 5 5 4 3 3 3 1
6/16/1995 Mike Morgan Jun 18 SFG L,1-6 GS-5 L(2-2) 5 6 4 4 0 2 0
6/15/1983 Neil Allen Jun 21 @ NYM W,6-0 GS-8 W(3-7) 8 4 0 0 2 6 0
6/15/1977 Tom Underwood Jun 22 @ LAD L,1-12 GS-4 L(3-3) 3 7 5 5 4 3 0
5/28/1975 Ron Reed Jun 3 ATL W,4-2 GS-7 W(5-5) 7 8 2 0 1 3 0
8/15/1974 Claude Osteen Aug 19 @ ATL L,6-11 GS-4 L(9-10) 3 9 6 4 2 0 1
6/15/1963 Lew Burdette Jun 18 NYM W,6-2 CG W(7-5) 9 6 2 2 1 7 1

Footnote. I read in a USA Today article outlining the Arizona Diamondbacks’ fire sale about the last pitcher prior to Edwin Jackson this year to have been traded during the same season in which he had thrown a no-hitter.

It was Cliff “Lefty” Chambers, dealt by the Pirates to the Cardinals in 1951. Interestingly, catcher Joe Garagiola was among those heading in the other direction in the seven-player trade. Including his no-hitter against the Boston Braves, Chambers was 3-6 with a 5.58 ERA before the move, but 11-6 with a 3.83 ERA over the remainder of that season after joining St. Louis.

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