Cheap Seats

Bullpen problems need to be addresses -- and quickly

If Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is sincere in his intention to improve the team's bullpen through trade, he better get on the phone sooner rather than later.

The Redbirds continued their disturbing trend of taking seven innings of good baseball and flushing it down the toilet with a lousy bullpen performance.

The Cardinals have lost about 15 games that they otherwise could have won already this season thanks to bullpen implosions. If the club could have converted half of those chances, instead of being half a game out of first place they'd have a healthy lead.

But it's not just the players who are getting demoralized over this situation. How can the Cardinals expect to sell tickets when the fans are constantly being punched in the gut by the bullpenners?

You can hardly enjoy a game when you can't be confident the team can hold a five-run lead in the eighth inning. And I know we all go to the game with the knowledge that they aren't going to win them all. But there's a big difference between a hard-fought loss than a total fiasco in which one or two bums can completely destroy the fine play of his 23 teammates.

It's like the movie Groundhog Day. No matter what you try to do different, you always know deep down that thigs are going to turn out the same sorry way.

The Cardinals have some options here. They could trade some of their minor league middle of the road talent for a decent middle reliever or two. And "average" would be a huge improvement over what we have right now. They could deal a promising major leaguer like Colby Rasmus for a major league ready closer and then some. Or they could trade some of their promising young bullpen talent -- Fernando Salas, Jason Motte and Eduardo Sanchez if he proves to be healthy -- for major league relievers who are more seasoned and prepared to do the job now.

But it seems to me that the worst thing the Redbirds could opt to do is to wait. Because all they're going to do is lose more games and alienate more fans. And, as we near the half way point of the season, it's going to get harder to dig out of the hole they've created for themselves.