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Cards think more work will sharpen Rosenthal

Closer walks bases loaded in ninth, allows three runs in loss to Giants
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal made his 19th appearance of the season Friday night in the ninth inning. He entered the game with St. Louis trailing by one run, well within striking distance of a possible rally in the bottom half of the inning.

Instead, he allowed a season-high three runs and gave the Giants room to breathe on their way to a 5-1 victory.

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ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal made his 19th appearance of the season Friday night in the ninth inning. He entered the game with St. Louis trailing by one run, well within striking distance of a possible rally in the bottom half of the inning.

Instead, he allowed a season-high three runs and gave the Giants room to breathe on their way to a 5-1 victory.

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"I feel that Rosie has a good as a chance as [Dean] Kiekhefer or anybody else of getting us out of that," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But right then, he was having trouble getting the ball down and finding the zone. I didn't want to pile pitches, but he's still going to be our guy."

Part of Rosenthal's struggles includes an inconsistent workload. The last time the Cardinals had a save situation that Rosenthal received happened May 18. He has made five appearances since then, including Friday night, which was the second time Rosenthal has entered and walked the bases loaded this season without getting an out. The other occurred in Anaheim on May 12.

"I think it will all even out eventually," he said of his workload last month. "I look forward to pitching more. It definitely is nice to have a rhythm where you're pitching. I think over the course of the season, you just continue to get sharper and sharper as the year progresses. That's an advantage to getting that rhythm and pitching consistently."

Rosenthal has five fewer appearances by the end of May this year than in any other of his three full seasons in the Major Leagues. So how can he get more work without actually appearing in the game? It's almost impossible, according to Matheny.

"There's just something about being on the mound in the middle of a game," he said. "It's different for a closer, too, with the adrenaline and all the hype going into a closing game."

The adrenaline has clearly made a difference for Rosenthal this season as well. His ERA is 0.00 in save situations with two unearned runs. When he isn't in line for the save, his ERA jumps to 8.21.

"I just think you always stay ready and you expect that every time the phone rings, it's going to be you," said former Cardinals closer turned starter Adam Wainwright. "Listen, Trevor's got one of the best arms in the game; he's going to be just fine. He's just got to keep going."

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Trevor Rosenthal