For just the seventh time in franchise history, the St. Louis Cardinals have a reliever that has recorded at least 40 saves in a season as Trevor Rosenthal reached the milestone in closing out Sunday’s 9-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
“I’m just trying to focus–don’t want to walk the lead-off guy,” redirected Rosenthal after admitting it was special to reach the mark.
In his first full-season as the team’s closer, Rosenthal has converted 40 of 45 save opportunities.
“I think he’s pitching a little bit more–save one he was probably just rearing back and letting it eat,” observed Mike Matheny. “He’s developed a change-up that’s very effective and he’s smarter with his breaking ball. He’s very aware of certain hitters that he does not want to have beat him with less than his best pitch and his best pitch could be one of those two that we just mentioned. And I think that comes with experience.”
“Just experience,” agreed Rosenthal as biggest the difference from the beginning of the season. “Every time you have a chance to go out there or even just be in this clubhouse everyday gaining that experience–finding out new ways to get stuff done, maybe easier, and make adjustments when you have to. I think it just continues to be a learning process.”
Jason Isringhausen, Jason Motte, Lee Smith, and Bruce Sutter are the other members of the exclusive 40-saves club for St. Louis.
As noted when he reached the 30-save mark, Rosenthal is ahead of pace and now needs only eight more saves to establish a new franchise mark for the Cardinals as Isringhausen and Smith each recorded 47 saves.
photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports