Rosenthal Is the Closer

(Busch Stadium) After Trevor Rosenthal had to be relieved after walking three consecutive batters to load the bases on Friday, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny stood by his closer.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to get him in a good place,” he said. “Trying to get him extra work–in a game like that, we’re right there. We feel that we’re going to be able to come back and do something in the 9th if we can shut it down, so we bring in our closer. Especially a guy that’s thrown as little as he’s thrown. We just need to get him right, but also not just get him right but use him to help us win a game. That was the situation we were in.”

When asked today, Matheny reiterated that Rosenthal was the closer. But the issue remains of finding enough consistency for Trevor to regain the sharpness that has eluded him with the infrequent use thus far.

Last year at this time, Rosenthal had already appeared in 25 games and recorded 17 saves–just two fewer than the 19 appearances he’s made this season.

The full comparison of last year to this season:

  • April ’15…9 appearances/8 saves…(8app/5 saves)
  • May ’15…14 appearances/7 saves…(10app/3 saves)
  • June ’15…11 appearances/8 saves…(1)
  • July ’15…12 appearances/8 saves
  • August ’15…13 appearances/11 saves
  • September..9 appearances/6 saves

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis CardinalsThe decreased work load has shifted the focus from recovery to maintenance for Rosenthal and finding the right routine or workload between appearances has been a work in progress. There is no set answer for how often or how much to throw. Advice can be provided by coaches and teammates, but Rosenthal like any other pitcher has to find what works best for him.

“Where Trevor’s at is very good–he makes a couple inches of adjustment here and there in two different areas, I think, he’s going to be great,” assessed Adam Wainwright. “You can practice it, but it’s always a little bit different game speed. The idea is that you know your body so well that you can feel it when it’s off just an inch or two.”

An increased workload also has it’s own side effects–as Rosenthal dealt with a tired arm on occasion last season after pitching three days in a row and was even scratched from the All-Star Game. But that opportunity has yet to even present itself in 2016.

A couple of weeks ago, Mike Matheny stated he planned to use Trevor frequently and if that resulted in his closer not being available on a given night, either Seung Hwan Oh or Kevin Siegrist would be able to handle the last three outs. The night before, Rosenthal had thrown 34 pitches as he was allowed to try and work through some difficulties.

Since then, Rosenthal has appeared in just four of the twelve games the Cardinals played. He went two, five, and three days between those appearances.

photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI,  Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


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