Pittsburgh Pirates: Why pitching will determine NL Central Crown

2 of 3

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals, despite being tied with the Pirates for first place in the division entering Monday, have the most questions to answer in terms of their pitching.

Aug 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) points over to third baseman Matt Carpenter (not pictured) during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Busch Stadium. St. Louis defeated Atlanta 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Other than Adam Wainwright, there really is a lot of uncertainty down the stretch for Mike Matheny’s team.

It’s true that St. Louis sports the fifth best ERA in the NL at 3.48, but they have only the ninth best bullpen ERA in the league at 3.48.

But looking at their starting rotation, Wainwright is obviously a stud but there are four question marks after that.

Lance Lynn hasn’t been pitching well and while the likes of Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Tyler Lyons are all very talented, they are also very young and pitching in September is a different animal to deal with.

That’s not saying the Cardinals’ staff won’t step up and deliver, but it is something I would be concerned about if I were a Cards’ fan.

The same goes for the St. Louis bullpen.

While they have a ton of young power arms in the pen, you have to wonder if these guys are ready for the stretch run.

They will be tested for sure as the Cardinals next 13 games come against the Pirates and Reds before having a very soft schedule to close the season.

The bullpen is definitely the Cardinals’ weakness and when you compare it to that of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati could ultimately be their downfall.