Oct. 14, 2016
Cardinals 2016 Home Record Still Baffles All ~ Pitching May Very Well Be The Clue
With the St. Louis Cardinals organization having the month of October to review their 2016 season; no playoffs this season. What comes back to haunt all is the Cardinals home record (38-43). They had not seen such a poor showing at Busch Stadium III. They last Cardinals had such a record (38-42) was 1999. By all accounts, Cardinals current stadium is "pitcher friendly". May be for the opposition; but, it certainly wasn't for their own in 2016 season.
Adam Wainwright, once again, held the #1 rotation spot. He began to earn the "Ace" title in 2012; prior to the retirement of former "Ace" Chris Carpenter in the off-season, November 2013. Carpenter only had three game starts in 2012 before he underwent neurogenic thoracic outlet surgery. He was expected back, but his return never happened by his own choosing. Wainwright went on to be an exemplary replacement. In 2013/34 GS/241.2 IP/2.94 ERA. In 2014, 32 GS/227 IP/2.38 ERA. He has two Golden Gloves, a three-time All Star, four-time contender for MLB NL Cy Young Award and NL MVP.
In 2015, his season was cut short, with only four game starts, due to sustaining an Achilles injury which required surgery. And, he joined the rest of the rotation in 2016 in their poor showing at home. Since pitching is one area of high priority for review by Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, Manager Mike Matheny and coaching staff - let's compare an outstanding 2015 season home stats to 2016.
HOME RECORD PITCHING ~ 2016 vs 2015
2015-2016 Rotation At Busch Stadium
Home Game Starts
Adam Wainwright - 2016
Michael Wacha - 2016
Jaime Garcia - 2016
Carlos Martinez - 2016
Mike Leake - 2016
Rookie Luke Weaver - 2016
Rookie Alex Reyes - 2016
*Full season played ** Wainwright/Achilles surgery; J Garcia/hamstring strain; and, Carlos Martinez last start/shoulder inflammation *** Leake/split season with Cincinnati Reds and the San Francisco Giants.
Added into the mix - one game start 2016, rookie Mike Mayers, 0-1/1.1 IP/9 ER allowed. Of the Cardinals 43 losses at home, 17 were in the second half. I will say, our rotation played a part in the "home record" dilemma, hands down. However, this was a rare season for the home stands in the 11 seasons at Busch Stadium III.
Starter Lance Lynn will be returning for the 2017 spring training camp from his Tommy John's surgery that took him out for the 2016 season. In 2015, Lynn was solid for the Cardinals. He was 12-11/3.03 ERA, At home, he was 7-5/2.91 ERA with only allowing 28 ER pitching at Busch Stadium. In my opinion, one the most unrated starters for St. Louis.
I'm sure Alex Reyes will be counted upon to be in the rotation, as the Cardinals have yet to decide upon the 2017/$12 MM option for J Garcia. Take the option, then trade? Or, let him walk as he is part of the 2017 class of free agency.
But, it will be spring before we know "who will be the top five" to begin the 2017. Since the 2017 free agency will provide "few" pitchers, I feel, final decisions will come from within. We will see how it goes. Trades are always available. And, after this past season, I feel the Cardinals will be in the thick of negotiations. They can't afford not to. But, for the "Starting Five Cardinals", competition is going to be tough. Also returning ~ Marco Gonzales, Tim Cooney and Tyler Lyons -- all of whom missed substantial time this year due to injury --- will reinforce the rotation depth.
Should the Cardinals be able to shore-up their rotation to the status of 2015; and, the 2016 offense remain on track (and, even better), I feel they will not sit out of postseason in the their future. However, improvement must begin at home to go along with their strength on the road.
PLAYERS ~ FUTURE CONSIDERATION: (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com, Oct. 7)
Arbitration-eligible: RHP Trevor Rosenthal, 1B Matt Adams, RHP Seth Maness, RHP Carlos Martinez, LHP Kevin Siegrist, RHP Michael Wacha
Free agents: 1B/OF Brandon Moss, RHP Jerome Williams
Options to consider: OF Matt Holliday, LHP Jaime Garcia, RHP Jordan Walden