The Cardinals seem to have at least one pitcher every season in recent memory to reach the 200 inning mark. This season it comes down to Miles Mikolas, who currently leads the club with 137.1 innings over 22 starts. The only other starter to reach 20 starts this season was Luke Weaver with 22. If Mikolas continues on his current pace, he will reach 32 starts and 199 innings.
But it shouldn’t be this close.
On the season, Mikolas has only hit 100 pitches 4 times across these starts. Take a look at the rest of the staff.
Luke Weaver – 3 of 22
Jack Flaherty – 6 of 17
Carlos Martinez – 4 of 18
Michael Wacha – 4 of 15
Mikolas has been incredibly efficient on the season. Why haven’t the Cardinals utilized this? It’s not a secret that the bullpen for the Cardinals has been a weakness. Until recently, only a couple guys could be relied on for the Cardinals once the starter was removed, yet Mikolas has routinely been taken out early. Let’s take a look at how efficient he has been compared to the rest of the rotation.
Pitches per Inning Pitched
Mikolas – 14.9 P/IP
Martinez – 16.8 P/IP
Wacha – 16.8 P/IP
Weaver – 17.2 P/IP
Flaherty – 17.6 P/IP
Something interesting to note is that Mikolas and Weaver both have 22 starts and Mikolas has thrown 2043 pitches compared to Weavers 1988 pitches. So only 60 pitches apart, and Mikolas has 21.1 more innings than Weaver this season.
There are 2 games specifically from the beginning of the season that baffle me.
On April 14th and April 22nd Mikolas went to the mound and faced off against the Cincinatti Reds. Here are the line scores.
April 14th – 7.0 IP | 4 H | 1 ER | 2 BB | 4 SO
April 22nd – 7.0 IP | 5 H | 1 ER | 0 BB | 6 SO
In those starts, he threw 83 and 85 pitches. In both situations the Cardinals won by a large margin. Why not leave him in the game? Mikolas very easily could have gotten through 8 or even potentially 9 innings in both of those games, but was pulled early.
There have been other games throughout the year that Mikolas could have went deeper in order to save the bullpen. Despite this, he is the only Cardinals pitcher with a complete game, a shutout against the Royals where he only needed 109 pitches.
During the last 3 seasons there have been 58 instances where a pitcher has gone 200 innings. Only 8 of those pitchers averaged less pitches per inning than Mikolas. I think the Cardinals need to treat Mikolas like the number one starter. He has been most consistent starters in the National League even being named an All-Star for 2018. Even though the Bullpen is being revamped, the Cardinals should let it ride with Mikolas. He has deserved it.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks For Reading