The St. Louis Cardinals picked up their 93rd win of the season in dramatic fashion on Sunday, beating the Chicago Cubs 4-3 at Wrigley Field. Closer Trevor Rosenthal recorded the final four outs for his 46th save of the season–a new career best for the right-hander.
“I’m not worried about ERA, giving up hits, or saves–just happy to be out there finish off some wins,” said Rosenthal recently of his numbers. ”
It looked as though Rosenthal may have been called upon even earlier in the game, as he was warmed up early in the 8th inning for the potential final six outs of the game.
“We gotta draw the line at some point,” said Matheny, who went with Seth Maness and waited for the 4-out situation to call on Rosenthal. “It’s part of the communication that we’ve had with him as well–this is what we’ll use you for and we need to stick to that, especially seeing the amount of work we’ve given him this season. There’s some days when he’s had a little bit of rest we’ll consider four outs, but nothing more at this point of the season.”
The added rest of late–some calculated and some the result of the scoreboard, has resulted in Rosenthal appearing in only five games during September. The result for “Fuego” has been noticeable as his velocity is again regularly hitting 100mph.
“It’s about how much can we work him because we did it a couple of times earlier this season–stretched him almost two innings and it wore on him fast,” added Matheny. “And it set him back. We have to take notice of that and then make sure we don’t do the same thing.”
Last year, Rosenthal made 72 appearances with 45 saves and needed 1263 pitches to throw 70.1 innings. He allowed 25 earned runs and walked 42 batters while striking out 87.
By comparison, Sunday marked the 65th appearance for Rosenthal this season and he is at 65.2 innings pitched on 1127 pitches. He has allowed 11 earned runs and struck out 80 batters. The big difference–only 23 walks.
“I think the mindset has been the best thing for me, in trying to make quality pitches early in counts and right off the bat coming into innings,” said Rosenthal. “It’s not always going to happen, but it’s one of those adjustments from last year. Trying to make quality pitches and get ahead–really make competitive pitches I think is the most important thing.”
photo credit: Charles LeClaire, Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports