Being the least experienced member of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation as well as the one added when Jaime Garcia was placed on the disabled list, Joe Kelly would seem to be the one most likely to leave the starting five when Garcia is expected to return from his minor league rehab stint on Sunday.
Let’s consider the options.
The performance of rotation-mate Lance Lynn has dropped off considerably in recent weeks. Specifically, his ERA is 5.43 over his last 10 starts. Lynn was a proven member of the 2011 Cardinals pen.
Any concerns about Kelly not pitching deeply enough into games should be measured against the fact that Lynn threw one inning less over the same number of recent starts.
Those worried about Kelly’s low strikeout rate need look no further than teammate Jake Westbrook. If one can consistently keep the ball down and the defense makes the plays, high strikeout rates can be less important.
Could the Cardinals move to a six-man rotation temporarily to accommodate all their starters? A variation on the theme would be to have a five-man rotation with six pitchers, resting a different one each time through.
Ace Adam Wainwright is still working back his way from Tommy John surgery, but has been clear that he wants to pitch more frequently, not less.
“I’m good to go as often as they need me,” Wainwright said this weekend. “I would think they’d want me a lot.”
Including Kelly’s outing of two runs allowed in 6 1/3 innings Tuesday night, here are the stats from the Cardinals starters over the last two months – since June 15:
|Lance Lynn||10||56 1/3||5.43||23||49|
|Joe Kelly||11||63 2/3||3.53||22||41|
|Adam Wainwright||10||67 2/3||2.93||13||65|
|Jake Westbrook||10||68 2/3||2.88||16||38|
|Kyle Lohse||11||74 2/3||2.53||17||50|
So, what would you do?
When Jaime Garcia returns to the rotation, what would be your corresponding move?
- Move Lynn to the bullpen. (50%, 100 Votes)
- Go with a five-man rotation wih six pitchers, resting a different starter each time through. (22%, 44 Votes)
- Move Kelly to the bullpen. (12%, 24 Votes)
- Go to a six-man rotation. (11%, 22 Votes)
- Other. Please specify below. (3%, 5 Votes)
- Keep Kelly starting in Memphis (and Trevor Rosenthal in St. Louis pen). (2%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 199
Note: The Cardinal Nation subscribers can read Kelly’s comments about his past relieving as well as his manager’s view of him.