Four St. Louis Cardinals pitchers boast double-digit wins before August is over, and a fifth owns the best ERA on the staff at 1.79, with only missed time likely keeping Jamie Garcia from racking up 10 or more wins by now, too.
Manager Mike Matheny has one of those great problems, a nails pitching staff that every major-league club would like to have rolling into the postseason, but not all can start in the postseason. Matheny, assuming the Cardinals make the divisional playoff, must decide which pitcher becomes the odd-man out in the playoff rotation.
As a team, the Cardinals have the lowest ERA in the league by a long shot. As for its rotation, Garcia, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn all have ERAs below 3.00. Lackey, at 10-8, has the highest ERA of the bunch at 2.99.
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In his last seven starts, he's just 3-3, but has an ERA of 2.98 while averaging nearly 7.0 innings per start.
If the divisional round started today, how would Matheny go about setting his rotation? Would Lackey, at age 36, be the odd-man out? It's going to be a tough call, but it seems impossible for Matheny to pull any of his other starters.
There's still plenty of baseball left to be played, and the Cardinals aren't yet safely ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates to bank on moving straight into the divisional round, so much is to be decided.
Matheny is more concerned with getting his team the division title than who is going to make up his playoff rotation at this point. But it sure is fun, and headache-inducing, to speculate.
(h/t SB Nation)