Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Who Will Pitch in for Cards in '94?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Who Will Pitch in for Cards in '94?

Article excerpt

Joe Torre starts his fourth full season as Cardinals manager today when he greets pitchers and catchers at the Busch Complex. Including non-roster performers, there will be 24 pitchers - an ample number, certainly, but will quality match bulk?

"We could be anywhere you want - from soup to nuts," Torre said. "It could be either very good or terrible.

"I played on clubs like the Braves. You could score forever, but you can't freeze the ball. Unless the pitching can do it, you're going to have a problem. I think we can be very good, but you can't score enough to offset bad pitching."

The Cardinals' pitching was thin anyway and got more shallow with the season-long loss of 10-game winner Donovan Osborne, who had shoulder surgery. "I think if we had Osborne back, we'd be favored slightly," said general manager Dal Maxvill, referring to the Cardinals' new residence in the National League Central Division.

Without Osborne, the Cardinals really have only one starter on whom they can rely.

Bob Tewksbury has won 33 games in the last two seasons. Rene Arocha won 11 in his rookie season last year but may wind up in the bullpen. Lefthanders Allen Watson and Tom Urbani both are unproven. Watson won his first six decisions last year before losing his last seven.

This road then leads to lefthander Rheal Cormier and righthander Omar Olivares, both of whom are becoming more suspect than prospect as the years pass. For both, this would seem to be their last chance to succeed in a Cardinals uniform.

Torre is holding out hope that Cormier and Olivares, who combined for 12 wins last year after totalling 19 the year before, can be trusted.

"You've seen enough good things to know what's in there," Torre said. "But all it does is tease you unless you can do it on a consistent basis.

"In (Olivares') case last year, he was so concerned about not being a starter that it affected how he did his job. Both those guys have very good ability. It's not like they're run-of-the mill journeymen pitchers, even though they could turn out to be that way. They've gone out there and had total command of the ballgame at one point or another.

"But there are too many people who clog up all the machinery when they try to overthink or worry about things they have no control over."

Maxvill is blunt in his assessment that Cormier and Olivares must produce now. "Those two guys have to pitch better for us," Maxvill said. "If not, then we have to look for some other people.

"We can't put up with another year like they gave us last year. But there aren't enough alternatives not to give them the opportunity."

Olivares has been particularly irritating to the staff and management. "You've seen him go out and challenge people and then not do anything about it," Torre said. "The only problem is in his approach to the game. …

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