Cards Ace-6 rotation by Bob Ryan

Cards Ace-6 rotation

As the Cardinals wrestle with the issue of how to deal with their top minor league prospect—starting pitcher Alec Reyes….do they bring him up now ?  Do they keep him down because the Cards have 5 entrenched starters?  He’s adjusting a bit ….fancy words for getting hit hard…in the starts since his dazzling All-Star appearance….I have an answer…bring him up…make it a 6 man-rotation !

Baseball has always evolved…originally it was a 1 man starting staff…heck there were only 9 men on the team…one pitched each game.  Quickly 2man, then 3 man and even 4 man starting staffs emerged.  The 4 man staffs were actually introduced in 1885 in a very strange way…On June 14, 1885, Mgr Bill Watkins of the 1st place Indianapolis team agreed to abandon this Indy team to manage the Detroit team…he brought along his two best starting pitchers and combined them with the two best starters of Detroit…bingo…4 man rotation.   However since 1975, the 5 man rotation has been most popular.

 Now attitudes …as well as size of pitchers…have changed…currently, starters & relievers pitch shorter durations, changes are commonly made at the start of the inning, many more pitchers are used by each team throughout a season, pitchers throw much more in the off season- failing to give their arm a real rest..and…sadly it seems… at least one man on each staff has undergone “Tommy John” surgery.

Why 6 man instead of 5 man?  Reduces INJURY! Research has been established that starts on 3 days rest-1.7% of pitchers suffered a reported injury in the next 2 weeks. On 4 days rest, that number sinks to 1.0% AND on 5 days rest (6 man rotation) just 0.8% of pitchers are injured in the next 14 days…a 20% decrease when compared to 4 days of rest.  Further, emulating the Leo Mazzone (Braves pitching coach in the glory days) of throwing twice between starts would be accomplished easily (remember..the Atlanta Braves had very good, very durable starters) which would benefit pitchers performance AND durability. I also believe that starters could be “stretched” beyond the current threshold of 100 pitches with this extra day of rest…let him work his way up to 115-120 pitches.  If done appropriately, the bullpen would benefit from less exposure when the starter goes deeper

 Downsides?  The ACE of the staff will have fewer starts..true…so how about using a special ACE-6 rotation where the ace throws every 5 days and everyone else on a 6 day rotation..this is an example of how the ACE-6 would look–  12345 16234 15623  14562 13456 repeat

The Mets used the 6-man rotation very late last year successfully…after injuries backed them into a corner. It’s been used for a long time in Japan….as a poster boy for 6 vs 5…Masishiro Tanaka pitched for several seasons in Japan without arm issues…now in NY…he’s been on DL.

 Bringing this closer to home…so when Reyes is ready…currently adjusting to AAA…the Cards should go to a ACE6 man rotation…don’t send anyone out…go 6 man…Wainwright  (the ace), Wacha, and Garcia are all hurlers who’ve had arm issues previously….and frankly..only Martinez is under 4.00 era for the season so hopefully, that could be lowered…maybe…they do need that extra day…I know Leake has won a couple consecutively but check out who he beaten..San Diego, Mil-2X, Az, LAA,LAD and his best win is over the Pirates…my point…he’s beating the weaker teams of the MLB. In this 6-man rotation, let the starters build up to 120 our beleaguered bullpen that is floating on a life preserver and cringes when the bullpen phone rings. The Cards should try the ACE-6 man rotation described above!

Around the sports world in 90 seconds….maybe a bit longer…:)

…now there isn’t much in this blog about the NBA but you can’t overlook the retirement of Tim Duncan-San Antonio Spurs….what a tremendous professional player….he graduated from Wake Forest after 4 years(received Player of the Year Award as Sr), played 19 years of NBA basketball where he was on 5 world championship teams , his team was in the playoffs 18 of 19 seasons, 8th in career NBA games, 6th All-Time Blocked shots, 7th All-Time rebounds,

NBA-MVP twice and all but 3 years of his career he was on the All-NBA Defensive team….more importantly…or as least as important….it was NEVER about him…it was the team. He conducted himself as an educated, disciplined, hard-working, team oriented man… bravo Tim Duncan…the NBA will miss you!

…the gracious interview with Phil Mickelson after he finished 2nd in the British Open was terrific. His answers were so honest…he said that he’d played his best but it wasn’t good enough on this day…he had no 2nd thoughts…or “maybe’s”….or “what if’s”

…when watching the celebration of the 2006 Cardinals World Championship team, the name Anthony Reyes came up …remember him?  … don’t feel bad if u don’t …. he won a 2006 WS game—8 inn, 17 straight outs over Detroit…. He had 3 poor starts in 2007 so Todd Wellmeyer was brought in to replace him in the rotation…then he was gone.. another one of those highly touted “starters on the way up” that went out …never up…that WS win would be the pinnacle of his very brief career

…Look for Tampa Bay to be heavily involved in trading market…they have some solid starting pitchers who could be wearing different uniforms in the next few weeks.

…on July 16, we celebrated…if u only knew about it…the 75th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. On July 16, 1941 Joe D went 3 for 4 on the last day of his streak as NYY pummeled the Indians 10-3

…I think the Arizona Diamondbacks uniforms look like they bought them at a sporting goods clearance sale….

….I’ve loved seeing Aledmys Diaz running the bases….he doesn’t watch the ball…he picks up the coaches…sprints as hard as he can immediately  and then picks up the coach…he’s scored a couple times from 1B on plays that most players don’t even CONSIDER scoring

…speaking of trades…the next “hot prospect” for the Cubs doesn’t have much of a future there..1B Dan Vogelbach is behind Anthony Rizzo…sorry….he’ll bring a strong relief hurler

…since starting rotations are the flavor of the day…take a gander at these beauties…not listed in any particular order…please note that in recent years, 5 man rotations are generally supplemented by a 6th starter so none were listed in my source….

1998..Atlanta Braves…Greg Maddux (18-9, 2.22) Tom Glavine (20-6, 2.47), Denny Neagle (16-11, 3.55), Kevin Millwood (17-8, 4.08), John Smotz (17-3, 2.90)

1971 Baltimore Orioles…Mike Cueller (20-9, 3.08), Pat Dobson (20-8, 2.90), Jim Palmer (20-9, 2.68), Dave McNally (21-5, 2.68)

1993 Atlanta Braves.. Greg Maddux (20-10, 2.36) Tom Glavine (22-6, 3.20),Steve Avery (18-6, 2.94), John Smoltz (15-11, 3.62)

1966 LA Dodgers..Sandy Koufax (28-9, 1.73), Don Drysdale (13-16, 3.42), Claude Osteen (17-14, 2.85) Don Sutton (12-12, 2.99)

1954 Cleveland Indians..Early Wynn (23-11, 2.73), Mike Garcia (19-8, 2.64), Bob Lemon (23-7, 2.72), Art Houtteman (15-7, 3.35) Bob Feller (13-3, 3.09)

1954 Milwaukee Braves…Warren Spahn (21-12, 3.14), Lew Burdette (15-14, 2.76), Gene Conley (14-9, 2.96) Chet Nichols (9-11, 4.41), Jim Wilson (8-2, 3.52)…btw…Gene Conley pitched several seasons while playing… at the same time.. in the NBA

 Some might say…whatta about the 2015 NY Mets…

Here ya go…Bartolo Colon (14-13, 4.16), Jacob DeGrom (14-8, 2.54), Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71),  Jon Niese (9-10, 4.13), Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24) 20 game fact no 15 game winners..Denny Neagle #5 man on 98 Braves team would be the ACE of this staff ..according to the most wins and a 3.55 era

…????? For you….where does Matt Adams fit in to the Cardinal plans..or does he?

…another ??? for you..does the Ace6 rotation work for you? …or…Would you trade one of the other starters when Reyes comes up? ..or Would one be exiled to the bullpen ..or would the weakest performer at the moment be put on the DL…a favorite technique…it seems… used by the Birds…or would you NOT bring up Reyes..who throws triple digits ? Let me know..

….my 1 man rotation is done for the day…time for bullpen help…or no help at all…until next time….


  1. Kevin O'Connell says:

    I have nothing against “trying” a 6 man rotation, however my gut reaction to it is that it won’t work, primarily for reasons that shouldn’t even enter into the decision. The first is money. The second is contractual agreement negotiations based entirely on previous performances, primarily wins and losses. Potential starts for the rotation would be reduced by 6 to 10. The reduction in potential K’s, scoreless innings, shutouts, and other statistics by which starters are judged would be damaging in negotiations. Additionally, I believe the additional day of rest will be less beneficial than more. Allowing for rainouts, days off, starts that end badly in the early innings, which will happen to every pitcher from time to time, the overwhelming need for a stand-up bullpen rather than an additional starter in the rotation is more important. I’m lead to believe that when a pitcher throws 100 pitches, whether it be in the first 6-8 innings, more or less, or the top of the 9th, he has met a breaking point in ability. I would not take a pitcher from the opportunity of a complete game. I just feel the current position descriptions for today’s pitchers, the financial structure of positioning on the roster, and most importantly the need and desire for a starting pitcher to get on with his next start is more the state of baseball today, like it or not.

    I am not completely convinced of this either, but I don’t think a team is best served by having only one closer. I’d like to see what would happen if a team went with 2 closers, and have the opportunity to send more than the same closer up each time during a 3 game to 4 game home stand. The opportunity to keep the other team “at bay” if you will as to who they may face, rather than have just one book of notes on “a” pitcher.

    Regardless of my point of view or yours, the game itself, the fan base, the enjoyment of baseball will never go away.

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