The Cardinals have only played 7 games in the 2017 season, but a major flaw to their roster has already hurt them greatly.
The Cards’ Bullpen is currently last in the league in ERA, FIP, xFIP, and WAR, with the second highest HR/9 rate. So how soon is too soon to freak out about this Achilles Heal?
The Cardinals have had a slow start to the season, currently standing at 2-5. Despite the slow start, the Cardinals rotation has started off hot, currently ranking first in the MLB for Wins Above Replacement (1.4). But the rotations’ contributions have not been appreciated by their successors.
The Cardinals Bullpen is currently last in the league with a -0.8 WAR. So what has happened to the 7-man bullpen of Seung Hwan Oh, Kevin Siegrist, Trevor Rosenthal, Miguel Socolovich, Brett Cecil, Jonathon Broxton and Matt Bowman?
Game 1: 1.2 Innings, 2 hits, 3 runs.
Game 2: 4 Innings, 2 hits, 2 walks, 0 runs.
Game 3: 3.2 Innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs.
Game 4: 1 Inning, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 run.
Game 5: 3 Innings, 4 hits, 3 runs.
Game 6: 4 Innings, 5 hits, 3 walks, 2 runs.
Game 7: 4 Innings, 8 hits, 4 walks, 8 runs.
These statistics sound like they were pulled from little-league! So far, the worst outing for a reliever has to come from Game 3’s 6-4 loss to the Cubs. Brett Cecil enters the game in the 7th. First batter reaches on a dropped-third strike Wild Pitch.
The second batter walks. 3rd batter hits a homerun. The 4th batter walks. The 5th batters singles. Cecil in then removed, but another run is tacked on to his outing. That’s right, Cecil allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs without recording an out.
Time to Panic?
Currently there are two different classes for Cardinal relievers. There are 3 who have a 3.00 ERA or below, and 4 who have a 13.50 ERA or above. Struggling in the latter group are Oh, Siegrist, Broxton, and Cecil. Have these 4 professionals lost all skill at their game?
Probably not. These 4 relievers are historically very good. In one season Oh pitched his was to over 11.5 Ks/9, with a 1.92 ERA. Siegrist has a lifetime 2.89 ERA with 244 K’s in 208.2 innings. Broxton has a 3.38 career ERA, and a 43-37 record with 118 saves.
And finally, Cecil has a lifetime 4.25 ERA, but just a 3.86 xFIP, since his debut in 2009.
If only one or two of these relievers got off to such a poor start, then there wouldn’t be much worry, and much less an article, about it. But since all 4 of these talented players have performed so poorly at the same time, a lot of fans are rightfully nervous.
These relievers should turn it around shortly, and this hysteria will be nothing less than a distant memory. Let’s just hope they start performing before the Cardinals are too far behind the Cubs.
Photo Credit: © Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Statistics Credit: FanGraphs.com