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St. Louis Cardinals starters pitch counts

Note: This is a guest post from Jerry Modene. He is responding to concern expressed by some on The Cardinal Nation message board that St. Louis Cardinals starting pitchers are being overworked because they are pitching deep into games so often. Jerry did a bit of research to show that is not the case.

By Jerry Modene

Since we were wondering the other day about whether the St. Louis Cardinals starters (who have done very well this season) are being over-pitched, a look at the pitch counts for the first 23 games seems in order.

Adam Wainwright: 105, 101, 115, 87 and 113 in five starts. Average pitch count: 104.2. Entirely reasonable for an ace two years removed from Tommy John. Note that the 115 and 113 pitch counts came in games in which he pitched shutout ball for 9 and 8 1/3 innings, respectively, and also when he was piling up the K’s – which takes more pitches than a first-pitch groundout.

Jaime Garcia: 97, 96, 98, 72 and 89 in five starts. Average PC: 90.4. I am surprised his pitch count is that low but clearly the Cards are being mildly careful with him since he did not have shoulder surgery. His 72 came in the game in which he only lasted three innings.

Lance Lynn: 94, 101, 99, 107 and 106 in five starts. Average PC: 101.4. Again, a pretty reasonable pitch count for a guy in his second year as a regular major league starter. No complaints here.

Jake Westbrook: 116, 111, 100 and 91 in four starts. Average PC: 104.5. I am a little surprised that Westbrook is averaging more pitches than any other Cards’ starter, but it makes sense in that he is the most veteran of the starting five and is even more years removed from his Tommy John than Wainwright. He was re-signed to be a durable fourth/fifth starter and he has been just that.

Shelby Miller: 95, 113, 98 and 98 in four starts. Average PC: 101. Reasonable pitch counts for a rookie starter. His 113 came in his seven-inning, one-hit performance against the Brewers. He had 8 K’s in that game, which as noted earlier can drive up the pitch count even in a shutout performance. His other three starts have been below 100 on the pitch count meter, so they are being reasonable careful with the rookie as well.

So there you are. Westbrook and Wainwright are the team leaders in average pitch count; Lynn and Miller are just over the 100-pitch line at 101 and Garcia has been held to below 100 pitches in every one of his starts this year.

Whatever manager Mike Matheny is doing with these guys, it is working. Witness the results of the starters through 23 games (18 starts with Game Scores of 50 or better, 5 starts below 50).

But overuse of the starters? Not happening. They are pitching a lot of innings, but not throwing a lot of pitches – and I call that remarkably efficient starting pitching.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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36 Responses to “St. Louis Cardinals starters pitch counts”

  1. crdswmn says:

    It was reported by bloggers at the bloggers weekend at Busch that Mozeliak hinted to them that Carlos Martinez may be making a trip to St. Louis soon.

    Why would he bring up CMart from AA as opposed to someone already on the 40 man, like Butler or Fornataro? That doesn’t make sense to me?


    • T8Ball says:

      Hey MG! BJ Rains tweeted that Seth Maness tweeted that he was on his way to St. Louis.
      Interestingly enough, Maness was scheduled to pitched the 2nd game of the DH tonight, but they went with a PiggyBack with Greenwood/Freeman. Also, CMart was scheduled to pitch the 2nd game for Springfield tonight (according to SPR homepage), but Ferrara pitched.

      Maybe they both wind up in St. Louis this week? Or CMart lands in Memphis?

      Only thing that I know for sure, is what Rains tweeted. We’ll see how it plays out.

      • T8Ball says:

        Maness is supposed to pitch Monday night…could have pitched Sunday night.

      • crdswmn says:

        Maness is a starter but I guess that doesn’t matter. He isn’t on the 40 man so if they add him it will be full. Someone on the active roster will have to go, I wonder who? Salas? Boggs? Personally, I don’t think sending Boggs down is a good idea, but what do I know?

      • Brian Walton says:

        The only thing I see in Rains’ timeline is a retweet of the same message from Maness’ youth league that got everyone all excited. Further, Maness himself has not tweeted anything. That is pretty easy to verify…

        The Cardinals did adjust the minor league starters, but it is also fair to note that both Memphis and Springfield played doubleheaders. Not saying the moves won’t happen, but when the rumors start flying, the facts sometimes get extended…

    • T8Ball says:

      Now Strauss is tweeting ” Expect an adjustment to Cards bullpen before Monday’s game v. Reds.” #Developing

    • blingboy says:

      Mulling over what, if anything, the Cards might or might not be up to (ample caveats?), maybe the reason for adding Curtis to the 40 man is we are looking to move Wiggy out somehow. He’s not happening, obviously. BDW might be willing to take one for the team.

      • Brian Walton says:

        I doubt there is a Curtis-Wiggy connection. Curtis will be easy to send back down when Adams is ready. If the Cards get to the point they want to bail on Wiggy, I predict he would move as part of a multi-player deal like when they got rid of Trever Miller and Tallet.

  2. blingboy says:

    Appreciate Jerry crunching the numbers in the article. The thing that stands out to me is that all 5 starters look strong. No weak link. Its too bad they can’t go 9 every time.

  3. Brian Walton says:

    From my friend Jason Collette of Baseball Prospectus:

    “4 teams have thrown 5 individual/team shutouts in 2013: TB, SF, STL….and Pittsburgh”

  4. Brian Walton says:

    Jenifer Langosch of is tweeting that a source has confirmed to her that Maness is coming up.

  5. Brian Walton says:

    Scrabble takes the trip down to Memphis.

  6. Bw52 says:

    Don`t understand this move.Rzep is struggling but Boggs flat out stinks right.Boggs might as well be pitching BP.Crazy move.

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