Cardinals 6, Astros 3

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

This has been a spring with minimal roster intrigue for the Cardinals, though the most fascinating camp competition came to a conclusion on Sunday. After Joe Kelly pitched five innings in his final Grapefruit League start, manager Mike Matheny named him the team’s fifth starter. Carlos Martinez, as a result, will move into the bullpen, where he will begin the season as the team’s eighth-inning setup man.

You can read the full story — and all about the reasoning that went into it — here.

I’m not going to rehash all that in the blog, but I will say a few things to those of you (and yes, I’ve heard you on Twitter) enraged that Martinez is not getting an opportunity to start…

  • The five pitchers who open the season in the starting rotation are rarely the five who finish the season there. Martinez may still start for the Cardinals this season. This does not change that. This also hasn’t changed how the organization views his long-term fit.
  • Martinez, like Michael Wacha in 2013, is going to have his innings monitored. If you start him in April, there is no way to keep pitching him every fifth day through September/October. The Cardinals will be saving some by pitching Martinez out of the ‘pen now. In doing so, the club will then have the option of moving Martinez into a starting role at a later date and still having him available for the postseason.
  • Does Martinez look ready to be in a rotation? Yes, he certainly looks ready for that chance. But it’s hard to ignore what Kelly did as a starter last year and the value that Martinez will have in the bullpen. They can both start, but I think Martinez will fit better in a set-up role than Kelly would have.
  • And please don’t try to argue that the spring training stats show that Martinez was more deserving. Grapefruit League numbers are mostly meaningless, as pitchers use this time to build up arm strength/refine new pitches/etc. It’s not all about results. Kelly, for instance, has been trying to work on his curveball all spring — even if means throwing it in spots where he normally wouldn’t during the regular season.

***

With Sunday’s announcement, the Cardinals have set their rotation: Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Wacha and Kelly. They have not, however, announced the rotation order. That will probably come on Monday.

As for this week, Miller will pitch Monday, followed by Lynn, Wainwright and Wacha. That has Kelly lined up to start the team’s exhibition game in Memphis on Friday.

***

After the latest wave of roster cuts on Sunday, the Cardinals have 35 players remaining in Major League camp. To get to 25 before Opening Day, the Cardinals will place Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia on the disabled list, and send eight more people out. There appears to be only one roster spot up for grabs as things wind down and that is the seventh place in the bullpen. Jorge Rondon, Keith Butler or Scott McGregor will fill it.

***

Follow me on Twitter (@LangoschMLB), Instagram (LangoschMLB) and Facebook (Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com)

8 Comments

I think that is ridiculous that you defend the Cardinals with this horrible decision. We look for our beat writers to have their own opinion and not just worship the Cardinals Brass at every move! Jeff Tarble

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What do you not understand about the points she made about the decision? I think she was fairly clear. And she didn’t even mention the fact that when Jaime Garcia returns to the rotation (before he inevitably gets hurt again), someone will have to be removed from the rotation.

Let’s see, who has shown the ability to move in and out of the rotation in the past? Could it be . . . JOE KELLY? And what about when Motte comes back? Need a spot for him, too, near the back end of the bullpen.

Think that might be a good time to mix and match Siegrist and Motte in the 8th inning, while conserving some innings for Martinez?

Then again, why would you want to conserve Martinez to replace Lance Lynn when he hits his inevitable 2nd half “wall” as he always does? Much less have him available for the postseason?

Go ahead and beat up on the beat reporter if you want, but at least use a modicum of intelligence when you do. Me, I’ll go with Langosch, Matheny and Morelia on this one.

Moleliak

Mozeliak. Damn autocorrect!

So because you disagree with Jenifer’s analysis of the Cardinals decision that makes her “worship the Cardinals Bras”? Profound and so logical.

There is no worshipping. But there will be times where I do happen to agree with decisions the team makes. To think otherwise would be absurd.

BLAH! BLAH! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU EVEN KNOW ANYWAY? EXACTLY NOTHING!
MATHENY NEVER SHOULD OF CALLED IT A COMPETITION THEN! CAUSE CARLOS WON! AND STOP WITH THE INNINGS LIMIT BS!!

Yeah, that same “innings limit BS” that allowed the Cardinals to have Michael Wacha nearly no-hit the Nationals late last year (one infield hit away) and to be the Cardinals’ best postseason pitcher? Remember Game 5 on the road in Pittsburgh? Didn’t think so. It wouldn’t have happened without managing Wacha’s innings throughout the year. I guess you preferred the Nationals’ approach with Stephen Strasburg in 2012 when he was completely shut down before the postseason.

Lastly, what exactly do you know anyway? Apparently, not the proper use of the English language. “Never should of?” Seriously, you might not want to indict others for their lack of knowledge when you have no idea of the difference between a simple preposition (should of) and a verb that is conjugated in the present perfect tense (should have). It makes you look and sound rather ignorant.

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