With the 5-3 loss in 10 innings to the Phillies, the St. Louis 'pen fell to 3-8 on the season, with eight blown saves in 16 opportunities and a 4.31 ERA.
"I think we're at just a hard point," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said on Saturday afternoon. "We've been juggling around a lot of different things, trying to see what works, and making sure we try to keep guys healthy. For the most part, we've been able to give them days off, even when it doesn't help us. When we need them, we're still giving them time, because we need them for the long haul.
"Overall, we've got the horsepower to do it, and we've seen that early. It's helpful when our starters take us deeper, but we can't count on that all the time. We've got to get back to figuring out, for me, to get them in positions where they can succeed. It seems like every night we're kind of careful with a guy or two, and when you're doing that you can't spend all your bullets when you've still got innings to go."
A run of shorter outings from the starting rotation has applied pressure to a bullpen that has been used heavily and has been depleted by injuries to Kyle McClellan and Scott Linebrink, plus the loss of Lance Lynn to the rotation to fill in for the injured Chris Carpenter.
St. Louis made a roster move on Saturday to add a fresh arm with the promotion of right-hander Chuckie Fick and the demotion of Fernando Salas.
Salas had an 0-1 record and 4.50 ERA in eight innings over 11 appearances in April, in which he allowed four earned runs on 12 hits, struck out 11 and walked two. In May, he's 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA, and has allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits over 7 2/3 innings, with 10 strikeouts and seven walks.
In 15 2/3 innings over 18 appearances this season, Salas is 0-3 with a 6.32 ERA. The right-hander has allowed 23 hits and walked 11 batters (two intentionally).
"We need him and we need to get him right," Matheny said. "The best opportunity for him to do that is to go get some consistent work in a different atmosphere. That wasn't anything except a move that we know for the long haul we've got to have Fernando Salas right. Tough decision to make, sending him to Memphis, but that's going to be the best thing, keeping on a calendar to get consistent work and then getting him a chance to work on a few things without being here."
In 2011, the right-handed reliever went 5-6 with a 2.28 ERA in 75 innings over 68 appearances and saved 24 of his 30 opportunities.