Pardon me for letting the nervous and slightly paranoid St. Louis Cardinals fan inside me show.
But it makes me uncomfortable that the team has decided to elevate Carlos Martinez from the bullpen to the starting rotation to fill in for Adam Wainwright Monday against the New York Mets.
The Cardinals could have taken advantage of the day off Thursday to account for the one start that the St. Louis ace supposedly will miss. Or the club could have called a pitcher up from the minor leagues for one start to save the bullpen.
The conspiracy theory starts with the fact that I believe Carlos Martinez, who has been tabbed to fill in for Wainwright Monday, is the best long term option for the Cardinals if the club should lose a pitcher to injury. It seems like it would be easier to leave the other 11 pitchers on the staff alone and plug in one temporary piece if the Redbirds were really worried about just one game.
But if they needed a starter for the rest of the season, Martinez is the best in-house option and he might as well get stretched out with the big club instead of going on a rehab assignment. He could pitch three innings or so Monday with 40 efficent pitchers and hopefully be ready for four or five frames or about 60 pitches his next go 'round and then 80 the third.
Martinez hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire lately as a bullpenner. He pitched one great inning followed by one lousy inning in his most recent appearance. Over the last month he's got a 6.17 ERA and has given up 11 hits and six walks over 11 1/3 innings. Maybe the Cardinals think he would benefit from a change. It makes sense for the team with Jason Motte gaining strength and with Pat Neshek assuming a late-inning role lately. So the Birds could be looking to cast him in another role. Or, on the other side of the coin, they could be giving him a last chance to make an impression before shipping him off to the minor leagues.
David Aardsma continues to impress at Class AAA Memphis with an 0.94 ERA and only 14 hits allowed in 28 2/3 innings of work. He's struck out 28 and walked 13. Could Aardsma soon be in the St. Louis bullpen?
It seems something has to give, and soon with Joe Kelly nearing a return. Manager Mike Matheny said it appears Kelly will be back in the bullpen when he gets back. So someone is going to be out of the picture for one reason or another.