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Favorite Cardinals Rotation

A group of Cardinal pitchers walk in from the bullpen (photo cred unknown)

The other day, I was scrolling around on Instagram and found a post of a tweet from Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) asking who would make my Cardinals rotation using only my favorite players.

According to his tweet, I can use anyone in Cardinals history. I'm going to add a caveat of only using players that I've seen (followed). Being born in 1986, I'm sure Bob Gibson was as great as what my dad had told me (RIP to both), but because I never saw him play, I'm excluding him from this exercise.

I'll start with honorable mentions. These are players who just missed. Darryl Kile. I still remember the day he died. Felt a connection of sorts when they patched DK57 because "DK" were my dad's initials, who had just died 8 months earlier. Jack Flaherty is probably my #6. Ask me next year, he's probably in there. Matt Morris was probably the guy before Carpenter and Wainwright. John Smoltz was only with the Cardinals the last couple months of his career, but how can you not be a fan of a Hall of Famer? So who actually makes my rotation? Keep in mind these are my favorite pitchers and may not necessarily be the best.

1. Rick Ankiel

I'll start things off with Rick Ankiel is my favorite Cardinal of all time. When he first came up in 1999, I couldn't get enough of him. When I would play catch in the front yard with my dad, I would always try to impersonate Ankiel. He was elite right away and his future was bright as a 19-20 year old lefty. As we know, he lost his control, which led to his switch to a full time outfielder. One of my most memorable games I have seen in person was August 31, 2007. Not only was that the game Juan Encarnacion's career ended, but it was also Ankiel's first career grand slam. Ankiel's comeback story made him a fan favorite, which is why he's at the top of my rotation.

2. Chris Carpenter

When we signed Chris Carpenter in 2002, my love Cardinal baseball was blossoming. When I heard we signed Carpenter, I knew he was injured, but I also heard this could pay big dividens. There was a stretch that Carpenter was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. In 2004, he won the Cy Young and then in 2005, he finished 3rd. Injuries then hit for a couple years, but once healthy, he was back to his dominate self. He's likely the #1 or #2 (my next pick could take the top spot) best starter in Cardinals history since the turn of the century. An argument could be made that he could have won the 2009 Cy Young. Carpenter all but capped off a great career by going toe to toe with Roy Halladay of the Phillies, throwing a complete game shut out in Game 5 of the 2011 Divisional Series. After all this, Carpenter rightfully earned his red jacket.

3. Adam Wainwright

Wainwright, while never winning a Cy Young, has been just as good as Chris Carpenter. As I mentioned with Carpenter, Wainwright has a strong case as the best Cardinals pitcher since the turn of the century. When we traded JD Drew, who I really liked, for Wainwright, who was a prospect at the time, I knew he was going to be good. Getting the final out in the 2006 World Series solidified that. He's entering his likely final season, all with the Cardinals. He's all but guaranteed a red jacket, and has a case for MLB Hall of Fame.

4. Mark Mulder

I was always a fan of Mulder when he was with the Athletics, so when we traded for him in 2004, I was elated. Knowing we were on the cusp of being a truly great team, I felt he was the perfect fit and he was. Unfortunately, injuries got the best of him. I feel many forget just how good he was when he was healthy.

5. Carlos Martinez

This is the pick that is likely going to be controversial with many of you. When Martinez was first coming into the majors, there were comparisons to Pedro Martinez. He even had the nickname of Baby Pedro. Rightfully so. His stuff was just as good. No, I didn't expect him to become a Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, the past few seasons, he wasn't that great. That is was many fans remember him as. They forget that he was very good for a 3-4 year stretch, where he earned 2 All Stars appearances.

The rest of the admin team at Cardinals Nation 24/7 also chimed in with their favorite rotation. Matt Devine was not available at the time of the posting.

Chris Lollis

1. Adam Wainwright

2. Chris Carpenter

3. Matt Morris

4. Lance Lynn

5. Michael Wacha

Larry Cox

1. Chris Carpenter

2. John Tudor

3. Bob Forsch

4. Adam Wainwright

5. Matt Morris

Jarred Redwine

1. Chris Carpenter

2. Adam Wainwright

3. Lance Lynn

4. Matt Morris

5. John Lackey

Boyd Harter

1. Chris Carpenter

2. Adam Wainwright

3. John Tudor

4. Joaquin Andujar

5. Michael Wacha

Zak Jenn

1. Adam Wainwright

2. Chris Carpenter

3. Mark Mulder

4. Woody Williams

5. Kyle Lohse

Dustin Duffy

1. Adam Wainwright

2. Chris Carpenter

3. Darryl Kile

4. Michael Wacha

5. Woody Williams

Who would be part of your rotation? We'd love to hear it! Thanks for reading and Go Cards!

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