Rounding out the rotation
While the Cardinals clarified several of their roster decisions on Wednesday, they are, for now, remaining mum on how they’ll line up their starting pitching for Games 3 and 4. The Cardinals have all sorts of factors to weigh — the body of work from a full season, home vs. road splits, past numbers against the Pirates, etc.
Given that manager Mike Matheny noted that Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha will be available, if needed, out of the bullpen in Game 1, that would hint that the organization is planning to start Joe Kelly in Game 3.
Here is a look into some of the numbers the Cardinals are sifting through as they make their final decisions:
Home: 5-4, 3.29 ERA; Road: 5-1, 2.07 ERA
vs. Pirates (as starter):
- Aug. 1: at Pittsburgh, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
- Sept. 1: at Pittsburgh, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
- Sept. 6: vs. Pittsburgh, 6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Deep Analysis: Really good on the road. Really, really good against the Pirates
Home: 2-1, 2.15 ERA; Road: 2-0, 4.34 ERA
- Aug. 14: vs. Pittsburgh, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
- Sept. 8: vs. Pittsburgh, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Deep Analysis: Has pitched better at home but Pirates haven’t figured him out.
Home: 10-3, 1.75 ERA; Road: 5-6, 4.57 ERA
- April 17: at Pittsburgh, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- April 28: vs. Pittsburgh, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
- Aug. 14: vs. Pittsburgh, 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
- Aug. 30: at Pittsburgh, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Deep Analysis: No team has given Miller more trouble this season than the Pirates.
Solely looking at these numbers, you could see why the Cardinals would pause before handing Miller a start in this series. Normally you’d expect it to be a certainty that a pitcher who won 15 games and is going to show up on a lot of Rookie-of-the-Year ballots would keep starting in October. But Miller’s struggles against Pittsburgh (all four of his starts were losses) and his dip in effectiveness on the road perhaps portend to Wacha getting the start.
It’s an interesting decision-making process — certainly the most intriguing that the Cardinals have in this NLDS — and in a short series like this, it will be magnified even more.
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