The St. Louis Cardinals are taking unprecedented measures to reduce starting pitching and bullpen usage.
The St. Louis Cardinals have put into motion a new strategy to save their young arms and prevent pitcher overuse – they will be strategically forfeiting 12 games throughout the season to give pitchers ample rest when needed.
“Well, we don’t want to overwork some of our young starters like Luke Weaver, Alex Reyes or Jack Flaherty. Or burn out veterans like Michael Wacha or Adam Wainwright or Carlos Martinez too early, so you got to watch their innings,” stated Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch. “But that puts a lot more pressure on the bullpen arms, too, and you don’t want to wear them out too soon either. So we had to find an alternative.”
The Cardinals’ advanced analytics department determined not exceeding innings targets for their pitchers is best accomplished by shedding innings altogether. Charts indicate removing 108 innings from the total expected innings in 2018 puts each of their pitchers on a much more realistic pace to meet their innings targets.
Despite scrutiny from the fanbase, the Cardinals are confident they have discovered a new edge in run prevention.
“The first through the wall gets bloody,” remarked manage Mike Matheny. “Sometimes in order to keep your guys healthy and allow fewer runs in the aggregate you gotta lose 12 games from time to time.”