I questioned how Anthony Reyes would be able to make the transition from starting rotation to bullpen. While the Cardinals wait for pitchers like Joel Pineiro, Mark Mulder, and eventually Chris Carpenter to return, Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan made the decision to make Brad Thompson a starter and Reyes in long relief.
Yesterday, LaRussa and Duncan looked like geniuses for the move. Thompson pitched 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball, giving up six hits, while striking out six. LaRussa said it was just an extension of spring training for Thompson.
The bigger surprise was Reyes, because he was a starting pitcher who went through a very diliberate routine of stretches and warm ups to get ready for a game. How would he respond in his first appearance? Quite well. Reyes pitched the 8th inning and struck out the side in order.
For the time being, as long as Thompson can continue to get all of his pitches over for strikes and Reyes can find a routine to get him ready out of the bullpen, it looks as though LaRussa has found the right combination between starters and relievers.