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Rosenthal is rewarding Matheny's confidence

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has not wavered in showing confidence in closer Trevor Rosenthal this season.

Even when the 24-year-old right-hander has hit bumps in the road during his first full season as the Cardinals' closer, his manager has been assertive in saying he would remain the team's go-to guy at the end of games.

"He's the same guy in just about every situation," Matheny said. "You go into the clubhouse even now … and if you approached him, you wouldn't know how things went. He's very consistent, and that really helps him in that role. He's been very stable all season."

It should come as no surprise then, that Rosenthal stood at his locker with little emotion Sunday after closing out a 3-2 win over the National League Central-leading Brewers to record his Major League-leading 34th save.

The Rosenthal on Sunday nearly mirrored the one from early July when he had back-to-back outings of two runs allowed on July 4 and July 5, with the second culminating in his fourth blown save this season. The performances, though, have been anything but similar.

Since that blown save, Rosenthal has allowed one run in 10 appearances spanning 10 innings.

"Anything you do at this level in a different role, there is a bit of a learning curve," Matheny said. "I saw that one little blip where he was putting guys on base as a time where he was fighting through the midseason struggles that a lot of people go through."

In closing out Saturday's win, Rosenthal got Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra to swing through a changeup on the ninth pitch of a long at-bat. Rosenthal has used his changeup only slightly more this season (16.4 percent) than last (15.4), but has become more confident in the use of the pitch that keeps hitters off balance with his at-times triple-digit fastball.

"It's one of those things, throwing strikes and getting ahead helps make all of the pitches effective," Rosenthal said. "I know we've definitely mixed it in."

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter and Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
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