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Grading the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals Starting Pitchers: A Fan’s Analysis

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The St. Louis Cardinals went into 2012 thinking they had some holes in their starting rotation. They lost Chris Carpenter for much of the 2012 season, but found other capable arms to fill the void. Here is my take on how the Cardinals starters fared this season.

Kyle Lohse - Lohse was playing in the walk year of his contract, and the way he pitched may have added a few zeros to his next deal. Lohse was a true #1 starter for St. Louis. Lohse reached 200 innings for just the third time in his career, and his .842 winning percentage led the NL. His WAR for pitchers of 3.9 placed him 10th in the league and on level ground with other top-of-the-line starters. I'll be sorry to see him leave St. Louis. Grade: A+

Lance Lynn - Lynn grabbed the spot in the rotation vacated by Chris Carpenter. Lynn was very good early on and earned a place on the NL All-Star team. Lynn had a few bumps along the way this year, such as a record of 0-1 with an ERA of 6.66 in August. But it's hard to overlook 18 wins (4th best in the league). He gave the Cards 29 starts and 18 wins, and those are good numbers by any perspective. Grade: B+

Jake Westbrook - Westbrook is a solid bottom-of-the-rotation guy. He gave the Cards 28 starts, 174 innings pitched and 13 wins, totals any team would take from its #5 starter. The Cardinals brought Westbrook back for 2013 on a one-year deal. He is not anybody's idea of a team ace, but he is reliable and gets the job done. Grade: B

Adam Wainwright - It was great to see Waino back after missing all of 2011. His comeback from Tommy John surgery had its down moments, but he took the ball every 5th day and won 14 games. Wainwright posted a great August (5-1, 2.75 ERA), but followed that with a poor September that saw him win just one game, causing speculation that his arm was tired. He did produce a great start in the NLCS, winning Game 4 with seven strong innings. Grade: B

Jaime Garcia - Garcia is the most frustrating Cardinals starter for me as a fan. The guy has all the talent in the world, but I'm starting to wonder whether injuries will dog the guy his whole career. After winning 26 games in '10 and '11 combined, Garcia slipped to seven wins this year. He missed virtually all of June and July but came back with a strong September (3-1, 2.45 ERA). The team is still waiting to see if Garcia will require surgery before spring training. Grade: C

Chris Carpenter - Carpenter gave fans a feel-good moment in 2012 when he was able to return from surgery in time to help down the stretch and in the playoffs. That #29 was able to win a playoff game (his 10th postseason win, a franchise record) is nearly miraculous. But in reality he was 0-2 in the regular season and 0-2 in the NLCS amid concerns of lessened velocity on his fastball. Hopefully a full off-season of rest brings Carp back to his ultra-competitive self for 2013. Grade: Incomplete

A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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