Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia tossed seven shutout innings against the Brewers on Saturday. The act was followed by one scoreless inning apiece from Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal, putting the finishing touches on a 3-0 win.
Saturday’s win is their third consecutive shutout and runs their team-wide consecutive scoreless innings streak to 36 innings. They last gave up a run on August 5 in the fourth inning to the Reds in a 13-inning victory.
The Cardinals entered play Saturday with baseball’s best starting rotation ERA at 2.78 and baseball’s best bullpen ERA at 2.28. Now 71-39, the Cardinals also own baseball’s best record by a considerable margin — 5.5 games over the Royals and Pirates.
Not satisfied with Marlins right-hander Steve Cishek as their only bullpen reinforcement, the Cardinals have acquired right-hander Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers in exchange for minor leaguer Mailk Collymore.
Milwaukee got Broxton from Cincinnati as a late-August trade pickup last year and he ended up throwing 47 innings with a 5.55 ERA for the Brewers, but his 49/12 K/BB ratio is a lot more impressive and his average fastball still clocks in at 95 miles per hour. St. Louis will use Broxton in a setup role in front of closer Trevor Rosenthal.
Cishek is under team control via arbitration for 2016 if the Cardinals feel like keeping him at a relative high salary and Broxton’s contract includes a $9 million option or $2 million buyout for 2016, so it’s possible (but unlikely?) neither will be merely two-month rentals.
Collymore is a 20-year-old outfielder playing his third season of rookie-ball while hitting .216, so he’s more “minor leaguer” than “prospect.”
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Cardinals have traded for Marlins right-hander Steve Cishek, who’s been working as a setup man after being demoted from the closer role.
As a side-armer with modest velocity Cishek is far from a prototypical closer, but he did a fine job in the role with 34 saves in 2013 and 39 saves last season. However, when he struggled early on this year the Marlins sent him to the minors and then brought him back up as a setup man.
Since rejoining the bullpen in mid-June he’s thrown 12.2 innings with a 0.71 ERA and 11/4 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .239 batting average, so Cishek should be a nice fit working the seventh or eighth inning in front of All-Star closer Trevor Rosenthal in St. Louis. He has a 2.86 ERA and 312 strikeouts in 290 innings, allowing a total of just 12 homers.
In exchange for Cishek the Marlins get Double-A reliever Kyle Barraclough, a 2012 seventh-round draft pick with good strikeout rates and very bad control. St. Louis takes on the $3 million or so remaining on Cishek’s contract for this season and he’s also under team control via arbitration for 2016, although the high salary makes him a non-tender candidate.