Glancing at the Fight for the NL Central, Part 2: Starting Pitching

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St. Louis

No Chris Carpenter. No Jaime Garcia. No Kyle Lohse. No problem.

Okay, so it’s no surprise that Lohse isn’t a member of the 2013 staff, but he did have a pretty good season in 2012.

Can the Cards maintain? Said the same about their offense yesterday, but…

Jun 28, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Miller pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at O.Co Coliseum. (Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

They do have Shelby Miller (right) in the rotation and you might wonder when/if he will be shutdown due to innings pitched. The most innings he has logged in any professional season is 139.2 in 2011. So far in 2012, Miller has pitched in 104.2 innings. I’d guess that the 160-170 IP at the most. Sure, the team could get creative in order to have him around come playoff time.

There’s also the continuing saga of Chris Carpenter. He’s on a rehab assignment in Double-A Springfield, and while his first outing numbers don’t look like it was successful (2 ER in 2.2 IP), he showed show some good velocity. He also reported no physical issues. Carp will now move his rehab to Triple-A Memphis. There could be the issue of regaining his effectiveness, but as much as Reds fans may not like reading this, it is Chris Carpenter we’re talking about here.

Having Carp back would certainly enable Mike Matheny to be a little creative in using Miller, too. It also means that Joe Kelly gets the nod in the Cards rotation.

Adam Wainwright is Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook may even be better than the previous Jake Westbrook.

What do you make of Lance Lynn? Sure, he’s got double-digits wins (11), but with an ERA right at 4.00 and among the NL’s top ten in walks (9th at 41), you might have doubts. His three July starts have not been pretty either (1-2, 6.75 ERA, 1.731 WHIP). The positive is that Lynn has substantially reduced his walk rate for July.

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