Cardinals are considering an 'opener' in upcoming game

Shildt confirmed the team has "gotten deeper into what (an opener) looks like, how it can be utilized."

August 13, 2019 - 9:24 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals are considering using an "opener" possibly as soon as this weekend against Cincinnati Reds, according to manager Mike Shildt who was recently on KMOX. 

Shildt confirmed the team has "gotten deeper into what (an opener) looks like, how it can be utilized." Some MLB teams who lack a consistent fifth starter in the rotation ave experimented with an opening pitcher, who specializes in getting the first outs in a game, before being replaced by a long reliever. On schedule, the Cards have Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson starting the next two games in Kansas City, but no starter has been named for Thursday's game in Cincinnati.

So how would St. Louis make it happen? 

"You've got to manage your bullpen differently to make sure (the opener is) available two days or at least one day prior to that," Shildt told KMOX on Sports on a Sunday Morning. "The way I perceive the opener kind of is, if the guy goes out and gets outs, he goes back out and gets outs. And then a starter comes in and he might come in a little dirty in an inning, that's the way it's most efficient I think.

"But then guess what happens? Now that same reliever is down for at least a day or two. So you budget it for two days which affects the other components of your bullpen."

What we could see Michael Wacha getting another chance to start, but Shildt keeps him on a very, very short leash and ready to bring in someone after just an inning or two. The Cardinals have put their faith in the 2015 All-Star pitcher who's trying to find his form. In his return to the starting rotation, Wacha allowed six runs on seven hits in LA last week. 

Maybe the reliable John Gant will be Shildt's opener. His ERA is second-best on the roster and has allowed just four runs in his last eight appearances combined. Then Shildt can save the likes of John Brebbia, Giovanny Gallegos and Andrew Miller to still shutdown games. 

Take a listen to the full conversation between our Tom Ackerman and Shildt in the audio at the top of this page. 

The Cardinals are in Kansas City for a two-game series starting Tuesdsay night, before heading to Cincy for four games this weekend. 

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