Cardinals' bullpen shouldering heavy load

Cardinals' bullpen shouldering heavy load

Cardinals' bullpen shouldering heavy load
ST. LOUIS -- It's a familiar story, but that doesn't mean it's not a little concerning. Cardinals relievers have worked very hard so far this postseason.

In eight games, the St. Louis bullpen has pitched 34 innings, compared to 36 for the team's starters. That formula worked well for the 2011 Redbirds en route to a World Series championship, but that was by necessity, not choice.

Ideally, the starters will get deep into games, and manager Mike Matheny will be able to use his relievers a little more sparingly. That could start Wednesday with Kyle Lohse, who delivered St. Louis' only quality start (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs) this postseason.

"The days off that you have in the postseason, like today, you do get an opportunity for your bullpen to get rest," Matheny said Tuesday. "So we're not as concerned about that as much as we know that if our starters aren't going deep, then we're giving up runs. ... Your foundation is your starting pitching. And you have strong starting pitching, you have an opportunity to be successful."

Mitchell Boggs is tied for the Major League lead with six appearances in these playoffs, and Edward Mujica and Joe Kelly have each pitched five times in eight games. Cards relievers have posted a 2.12 ERA in the postseason.