By Harry Stephenson
For the Cardinal Nation Show
(The Cardinal Nation Show) -- Last night Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook threw a complete game for the win against Detriot in the second of a three game series-his first complete game since 2010, when he dominated at the plate for nine innings against the Baltimore Orioles on May 16th.
His stellar performance, which held the Tigers to a single run, saved the Cards from dropping below .500 for the first time this year.
Westbrook has thrown 14 complete games in his last 12 years: 13 of those were during his nine year stint with Cleveland, and Wedesday's was his first in his three seasons with St. Louis.
The only other Cardinal to throw a complete game this season is righty Adam Wainwright, who shut out the Padres on May 22nd. Wainwright has recorded nine complete games in his seven year MLB career.
With only two complete games, St. Louis stands at 6th place in the National League-a serious decline from last year's 2nd place ranking with seven complete games (four of which were tossed by currently-injured Chris Carpenter) in regular season play.
In fact, from 2009-2011 the Cardinals finished in 3rd place or better for pitchers with complete games: four pitchers threw a combined eight complete games to finish 2nd in '09, three pitchers threw a combined seven complete games for 3rd in '10, and three pitchers tossed a combined seven complete games in '11 to land in 2nd place.
Prior to this run, the Redbirds finished 11th in '08 and 9th in '07, with two pitchers each throwing a complete game in both of those seasons.
In the past, LaRussa had typically relied on one or two dominant pitchers-like Carpenter and Wainwright-to earn most of the complete games, but with the revolving door that has been attached to the bullpen this year and the abnormal amount of injuries, Manager Mike Matheny's catching experience could allow fewer pitchers to make it all nine innings, and the complete games we may see almost certainly will be more evenly dispersed among the entire pitching staff.