Cheap Seats

Cardinals flex their young muscles in NLCS game two

Pardon me for looking ahead when the Cardinals are in the middle of a tied play-off series.

But indulge me on this day off just for a moment while I mention how excited I am for the future of St. Louis baseball thanks to the show that was put on last night by the young crew of righty Redbirds relievers.

In years past, Cardinals fans might have curled up into a ball if one of their starters left a play-off game in the second inning to have an MRI on his pitching shoulder. I feel for Jaime Garcia. But it's hard to weep for the Birds' fortunes when the simply summon an 18-game winner from the bullpen to casually take over for the next several innings.

And when Lance Lynn was done striking out Nationals hitters with his 96 MPH gas, the Redbirds found another gear with Joe Kelly and his 98 MPH heat.

The best was saved for last, however, when future closer Trevor Rosenthal appeared out of the bullpen and broke into the triple digits, lighting up the radar gun with seven pitches that registered 100 MPH, two that showed 101 MPH and, just to be completely unfair, a handful of off-speed pitches that came across the dish at 83-84 MPH.

I don't know where the Cardinals found this cache of righty power pitchers. But they ought to keep it a big secret.

While St. Louis fans have grown accustomed to the heat of Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs, Rosenthal definitely has another gear. In a spring training game in March Rosenthal was slipped into a game and his fastball literally stopped the murmur of casual chit chat in the stands as Redbird Rooters took notice that his velocity was something special.

We hear a lot about Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez. But they're not the only valuable bits in the Cardinals' much maligned minor league system. Hopefully the team has a steady supply of home grown (read: low cost) elite pitching for years to come. And the team can use some of that savings to fill in the holes to keep pushing its way into the play-offs for years to come.

And it's great that the team was able to get its youngsters some post season action to prepare them for what their future holds.