Matheny's thinking on Rosenthal evolving

Manager more open to using closer on road in tie games

April 7th, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- Trevor Rosenthal's season debut may have come in a familiar inning -- the ninth -- but the circumstances around it reflected a bit of new-age thinking by his manager.

Mike Matheny, who has previously hesitated to deploy his closer on the road in a tie game, utilized Rosenthal in such a spot on Tuesday. With the game tied at 5-5, Rosenthal was asked to handle the bottom of the ninth, which he did with ease. In doing so, Matheny was setting himself up to put a later save situation in the hands of either Seth Maness or Matt Bowman.

It was a tradeoff Matheny accepted, preferring to take his chances with someone else potentially closing the game instead of letting Rosenthal sit in the bullpen waiting for a save situation that may never have arisen.

"I'm always challenging that typical train of thought," Matheny said before Wednesday night's 5-1 loss. "Mostly, we want to get our best pitcher in the game. I think you have to take everything else into consideration -- the fact that Trevor hadn't thrown in quite a few days. We needed him to pitch last night. There was no sense in that game ending and him still sitting in the bullpen. And, I just think we take our best shot when we can. I think everybody has their own philosophy on this, but I like getting our own guy in there and then at that point, taking our best shot."

The philosophy is one that has evolved for Matheny, who has long been formulaic with the use of his late-inning relievers. He noted that he won't always call on Rosenthal in the spot he did on Tuesday. But, depending on circumstances, he will now consider it.

"I think it was different yesterday [Tuesday] because of how long it's been since Trevor has thrown. That adds to it," Matheny said. "But I think it's a philosophy that we've continued to talk [about] among the staff and front office, talk about the benefit of being able to get him in there instead of sitting around and waiting and not having him in the game. It can go a lot of different ways."

Worth noting

• The Cardinals and their Triple-A Memphis affiliate announced an extension to their Player Development contract that will keep that affiliation intact through the 2020 season. The Cardinals' sale of their majority interest in the Memphis club has also been finalized. Peter Freund now serves as principal owner of the club.

• A day after collecting his first Major League hit, outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker drew his first Major League start on Wednesday. The Cardinals' decision to start Hazelbaker was matchup related and prompted by the team's desire to get Randal Grichuk some time to work out kinks in his swing outside of game action. Grichuk has opened the season 1-for-9 with five strikeouts.

• The cleats that Adam Wainwright wore for his season-opening start on Sunday are set to be auctioned off as a part of his efforts to raise money for charities assisting people in Flint, Mich. Wainwright wrote #ImpactFlint on the side of his cleats before his season debut and marked the back with #IF. Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson did the same. Fans can place bids on either set of cleats beginning on Thursday at All money raised through the auction will be donated to the Eastern Michigan Food Bank.