Cardinals intend to get Rosenthal more work

May 22nd, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- Concerned that sporadic work is the culprit behind Trevor Rosenthal's recent command troubles, manager Mike Matheny said he will be more intentional in getting his closer into games even if the appearances come in non-save spots.

That was the impetus behind pitching Rosenthal with a six-run lead during the ninth inning of Saturday's 6-2 win over the D-backs. But instead of getting Rosenthal a feel-good outing, Matheny watched the right-hander labor through a 34-pitch inning in which he allowed a pair of runs on four hits. The appearance was so long, in fact, that it left Rosenthal's status uncertain for Sunday's 7-2 loss. He did not pitch.

Rosenthal, who had thrown once over the previous five days, has now had four 30-plus pitch outings in his 15 appearances in 2016. Last season, he reached 30 pitches once in 68 games. The Cardinals contend that the lack of sharpness -- Rosenthal has walked nine in six innings this month -- has something to do with the lack of consistent opportunities.

Rosenthal is on pace to appear in a modest 57 games after averaging 71 appearances over the last three seasons.

"It's just simply not enough work to stay sharp," Matheny said. "If we see him take long breaks and then be really sharp when he comes in, that's another story. But right now, he's just not quite where he wants to be. And sometimes the only way of fixing that is to throw."

So Matheny plans to have Rosenthal throw more often, even if that means risking not having him available in save situations. That's not a great concern, Matheny said, because of how well Seung Hwan Oh and Kevin Siegrist are pitching. Oh was a decorated closer in Asia before signing with the Cardinals in January, and Siegrist has served as a fill-in closer before.

"We have other guys who are throwing the ball well who will get the ball in those situations," Matheny said. "I think it's probably the priority at this point to get [Rosenthal] the amount of work that he needs until he is right, and then build on that confidence."

Worth noting

• Jhonny Peralta played another four innings for Class A Peoria (Ill.) on Saturday and went 0-for-2. Peralta, whose rehab assignment began on Friday, was to return to St. Louis on Sunday for an off-day and then head back out to another affiliate on Monday. Matheny did not specify where Peralta's next destination would be.

• Matt Holliday was missing from the Cardinals' lineup on Sunday as part of a pre-scheduled day off for the left fielder. Holliday entered the day hitless in his last 11 at-bats. With Holliday out, Stephen Piscotty slotted into the three-hole in the lineup. Piscotty, through Saturday, was batting .382 in May.

• The starting pitching matchups for the Cardinals' upcoming series against the Cubs have been set as such: Adam Wainwright vs. John Lackey on Monday, Michael Wacha vs. Jason Hammel on Tuesday and Carlos Martinez vs. Jake Arrieta on Wednesday.