Only three weeks into the new season, it appears that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak will be required to perform a bullpen intervention.

Unless closer Jason Motte receives surprisingly good news on his torn elbow ligament next week, the Cardinals will likely continue to hemorrhage late in games.

Last season the Cardinals had a 78-5 record when took a lead into the eighth inning. That computes to a .940 winning percentage.

Only 18 games into their 2013 season the Cardinals already have lost three games when carrying a lead into the eighth.

At 9-3 the Cardinals have a .750 winning percentage when holding a lead at the start of the eighth inning.

For perspective, consider this: the other 29 MLB teams are 204-16 when holding a lead going into the eighth inning; that’s a .927 winning percentage.

And in the NL Central, the Reds (8-1), Pirates (9-0), Brewers (6-0) and Cubs (4-1) are a combined 27-2 when taking a lead into the 8th.

The Cardinals’ 5.69 bullpen ERA is the worst in the majors. For a reference point, the worst bullpen ERA in franchise history (5.46) was posted in 1954.

The Cardinals also rank 29th among 30 teams with a 37.5 save percentage. Only the sad-sack Marlins franchise (33.3 percent) has done worse.

Small sample or not, the trend is ominous.