Jason Motte tore a ligament in his right elbow during spring training in 2013 and had Tommy John surgery to fix it, but that operation requires about a full year of rehab before a pitcher can return to the mound in a Major League Baseball game.
St. Louis Cardinals righthanded starting pitcher Shelby Miller had to beat out Joe Kelly for the fifth and final spot in the rotation through somewhat of a spring training-long duel between the two pitchers in 2013, and Kelly faces a similar challenge that could produce a similar result in 2014.
While much of the success that a team has comes from its own preparation, what goes on around them also plays a huge factor. The Cardinals have been among the most successful clubs at concisely addressing their needs this winter, but how has the rest of the National League Central done?
It was no secret that the key to winning game five of the National League Division Series would require a strong performance from Adam Wainwright. However, what he ultimately delivered was far more than just that.
While wins go to the team and are created by the players, there are games where a manager can set a scene so precisely; they deserve a share of the victory as well. And Mike Matheny deserves credit for setting the scene for the Game 4 victory.
Down 2-1, and faced with nothing elimination games ahead in their Divisional Series match up with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cardinals find themselves in a familiar place.
There is no doubt about the task that lies ahead for the Cardinals in starting their playoff push with the Pittsburgh Pirates. But Cardinals are primed to leave nothing off the table in taking down their most persistent foe.
The St. Louis Cardinals have starting pitcher Jake Westbrook to thank for helping them win the National League Central Division this season and make the playoffs in each of the last three years, but an attempt to recognize him for those contributions could cost them dearly in October.
The situation at the back end of the Cardinals’ bullpen four years later is nearly exactly the same.
The Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates had identical 86-62 records as of Sunday and both trailed the Atlanta Braves by three games for the best record in the league