No matter what happens in this game, 7-5 Cards in the 6th inning, I can tell you one thing. Jake Westbrook doesn’t deserve to be in this rotation any longer. Today, he helped himself in a 6 run 2nd inning in pushing his team out to a 7-0 lead against the Brewers in a rubber match. He ran into trouble in the 3rd and gave up a 3 run bomb to Aramis Rameriz, a registered Cardinal killer. Why Jake felt the need to pitch to Rameriz even with 2 runners on will befuddle my mind for a long time. In the 5th inning, after getting 2 outs, Westbrook regressed and gave up 2 more runs. You see the leaks here and the problems. It’s not hard with a guy like Westbrook. He is bad news. His elbow could be bothering him or he could just be breaking down. A sinker baller can only stay around for so long before they learn another pitch to prolong their career or they just go away. Westbrook’s return in 2013 was held in question by me last winter because of our young arm supply. Then we lost Carpenter and Garcia and Jake was needed. We didn’t resign Kyle Lohse and inserted 4 rookies into rotational stints this season. The rotation is a big question mark because right now, this set isn’t a big threat in a postseason series. Waino is your guy, Kelly is hot, but after that it gets worrisome. Lynn is talented but has a bad mental makeup and blows leads. Taking away his run support is like taking away a gunman’s firearms. Shelby Miller is holding steady but may succumb to a pitch count or shoulder issue before we know it. He gives you 5-6 innings every time out and avoid the big inning. Then you have Westbrook.
In my mind, there’s no way Matheny can move forward with him in this rotation. These games mean too much. Every single one counts. We may not catch Pittsburgh so we could be contention for another wild card game. There are less than 35 games left. Things are going to start speeding up. Westbrook is a pitcher that requires so much finesse it gets to be a weight on the shoulders just to get him ready. He can’t pitch on the road, especially in PNC Park or Great American Park. He needs lots of pre game prep. He is a 30 something pitcher who has the body of a 50 year old when it comes to pitching. He can’t pitch in this rotation any more and he won’t be a good bullpen guy either, as we saw against LA at Busch. Sure, he could condition himself for a different role but is he or his body in any shape to do so? Ask yourself that question. What is Jake’s role on this team if not in the rotation? Dismiss it as long as you can but sooner or later you think, in what spot other than a 10 run blowout do you put Jake into a game? We saw what happened with a 7-0 lead today? This was the final hair and in the long run may end up being best for the Cards. Hit the wall with Westbrook now instead of down the road in September.
*Insert Michael Wacha into the spot. He can at least give you 5th starter production if not more. His upside is insane if he gets the chance and his work out of the pen suggests his mental makeup is stronger than before. You have nothing to lose by giving Wacha the reins and letting him go. He’d have two more wins if it weren’t for bullpen malfunction.
*Tyler Lyons isn’t fit for a starting role. He looks good as a long man in the pen and his 4 straight losses in the rotation doesn’t make one think he can suddenly turn it around.
*Carlos Martinez is extremely talented but not ready to give the rotation meaningful innings. He looked unfit in his start against the Dodgers at Busch. He will be a 2014 candidate.
*Look at Lohse or Dan Haren on the waiver wire. I will say this. Lohse has looked good for 2 months. He knows Busch, has a shorter contract, and could give this rotation a real boost. A lot of money comes off the books in 2014. Lohse can be afforded and has suddenly figured out how to pitch in the MLB and be very good. If Milwaukee dangles him, think about it. Give me 3 good reasons why not. He is a proven playoff pitcher. He could be a boost. Dan Haren has also been very good as of late and returning to the Cardinals may help his career and the team. These are 2 guys who could be 3rd spot starters in a good rotation and could help the team without losing your entire farm system. This isn’t Jake Peavy or Cliff Lee. Lohse and Haren would cost the Cards but not a ton of prospects or money. With one of these guys, I see a deadly rotation. Without them, you are depending on a little luck. Just my take.
Feel free to fire back, discuss and break it down. I love interacting with fellow Cards nuts. Back to the game. Thanks for reading. Seth Maness is in and trying to hold a 7-5 lead against a Brewers team smelling blood. If he can hold it, Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica will follow. Nothing is certain in this game.
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