PHOENIX -- Summoning Seunghwan Oh in to handle save situations will no longer be so automatic, as manager Mike Matheny showcased with his decidedly different deployment of relievers on Wednesday.It wasn't so easy, or so formulaic, but for one night, it worked. Trevor Rosenthal inserted a dose of drama into
PHOENIX -- Summoning Seunghwan Oh in to handle save situations will no longer be so automatic, as manager Mike Matheny showcased with his decidedly different deployment of relievers on Wednesday.
It wasn't so easy, or so formulaic, but for one night, it worked. Trevor Rosenthal inserted a dose of drama into the ninth, but with his 29th pitch, he induced a groundout that left the potential tying run stranded at third. Rosenthal's fourth save of the season -- and first since May 2 -- secured St. Louis' 4-3 win over Arizona.
"With the way this season's going, in particular, there's a real urgency I think for everybody in the bullpen to try to finish it off and get some wins," Rosenthal said. "There's definitely room for improvement, I think. I think we've made some good adjustments, and I think it'll be a good second half."
When Rosenthal arrived at Chase Field on Wednesday, Matheny let him know that the team, at least in its next save situation, was going to try something different. He urged Rosenthal to be ready for that call. The decision to change course came a day after Matheny watched Oh blow his third save of the season in Tuesday's loss.
"We needed somebody to come in today and get the job done and close the door," Matheny said. "[Rosenthal] has done it a lot. We know he has the stuff to do it. He trusted himself and stayed with it and guys made a couple plays to get him out. You just have to get that off your back. Someone's got to finish it up, and it was Rosey."
But while it was Rosenthal on Wednesday, Matheny noted that he'll keep the options open as to how he uses his bullpen arms. That means refraining from anointing anyone the closer and instead considering rest, matchups and recent success when deciding who to pitch when. There's also going to need to be more creativity in determining how best to bridge games to the ninth.
To get to Rosenthal on Wednesday, Matheny turned to Tyler Lyons in a high-leverage spot and asked Brett Cecil to get through the heart of the D-backs order in the eighth. Cecil, whose ERA sat at 5.66 after allowing four runs in a June 7 appearance, has made 10 scoreless outings since.
Cecil will remain a critical piece in this late-inning mix moving forward.
"I think, for sure, we're a lot better than what we've shown," Cecil said. "It's just a matter of getting on a consistent page and getting on a good roll. It was good to see Rosey out there able to work through that tonight. I know that gave him a ton of confidence."
Rosenthal not only had to navigate through a pesky Arizona order, but he also found himself thrown off a few times when his landing foot hit on a soft spot on the mound. The umpires, at Matheny's request, offered Rosenthal the chance to call in the grounds crew. Rosenthal chose not to, saying afterward that he didn't want to disrupt his rhythm.
As for Oh, he's hardly been cast aside. Not only has Matheny not ruled out bringing the 34-year-old back in future save situations, but Oh was summoned to warm up twice late in Wednesday's game. He would have faced Paul Goldschmidt if the go-ahead run had reached base in the seventh, and he was ready if Goldschmidt came up in the ninth.
Both innings ended with the first baseman standing in the on-deck circle.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.