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The Shelby Miller Conundrum In St. Louis

The St. Louis Cardinals should seriously consider whether they should ever host another “Star Wars Night” at the ballpark after the results on August 7th.

ShelbyMillerHurt

They lost the game.  They almost lost another pitcher.  Another pitcher stepped in on short notice and the rotation is now in shambles.  The Force was not strong with this one.

Read more about Star Wars Night and which Cardinals match up with Star Wars characters over at CardsConclave.

The conundrum now comes due to the fact that the Cardinals dodged a bullet.  It now appears that Shelby Miller, after taking a line drive off his pitching elbow on the second pitch of the game, will not be headed to the disabled list and may not even miss a scheduled start.  That’s good news.

But it leaves the team in a pinch.

The Cardinals promoted Carlos Martinez to make the start tonight in place of Jake Westbrook, who admirably took over the game from Miller yesterday.  They have also promoted Sam Freeman while sending Brock Peterson and Keith Butler.  The potential problems break down with the following scenarios:

Scenario 1 – Miller heads to the disabled list

Should the Cardinals decide that Shelby would benefit from a 15-day disabled list visit, the team is in pretty good shape.  Martinez would stay and assume Miller’s rotation spot and Peterson could be recalled immediately without having to wait for the 10-game window of time to pass.  Players sent to the minor leagues have to remain there for 10 days unless they are promoted to assume the roster spot of a player going to the disabled list.

In this scenario, the team would only work with a short bench for a day or two and not be concerned with the need for the extra arm in the bullpen.

Scenario 2 – Miller is fine, does not miss a start

It is strange to say that this may be the hardest scenario for the team.  Due to the lack of a long-reliever on the team, they effectively burnt two starters, Miller and Westbrook, in last night’s game.  Martinez will make the start tonight but then be unavailable for five days.  The team would, most likely, send Martinez back to the minors for a relief pitcher after his start in this scenario.  The problem is, since no one is going on the disabled list, the options for relievers become a bit more limited.  A short bench is one thing but a short bench and a short bullpen is another.

The Cardinals are starting to test their depth in pitching this season, which I covered in today’s piece for Yahoo! Sports.

It may be time for John Mozeliak to see what is available on the trade market and be willing to deal a prospect or two.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
He is a freelance writer that publishes work for InsideStl and Yahoo Contributor Network as well.
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