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Siegrist striking out batters at historic August rate

ST. LOUIS -- Already distinguished as the only player signed as a 41st-round pick of the First-Year Player Draft to reach the Majors with the Cardinals, Kevin Siegrist is putting himself in other rare franchise company.

After striking out the side Tuesday, the 2008 Draft pick has now thrown 13 1/3 scoreless innings in August, totaling 20 strikeouts during the month. His rate of 13.5 strikeouts per nine innings this month is the highest ever for a Cardinals pitcher with at least 13 appearances in August.

This month-long dominance comes after Siegrist set a franchise record by opening his career with 12 consecutive scoreless appearances from June 6 to July 9.

"I have a lot of confidence this year, no matter who I face," said Siegrist, who began the year in Double-A. "I try not to really think about who's in the batter's box. I try to attack the strike zone, get outs that way."

Siegrist continues to pitch off his fastball, though the velocity on it (an average of 95 mph this season) is higher than hitters see from most lefties. He has pitched himself into a high-leverage role, too, with his ability to be nearly as effective against right-handers as he is left-handers.

Entering Wednesday, left-handed batters have hit Siegrist at a .087 clip. Right-handers have a .111 average. His. 0.64 ERA is the lowest among all Major League relievers with at least 25 innings pitched.

"We continue to give him new obstacles and put him in different situations and put him in different spots," manager Mike Matheny said. "He continues to answer them. He's done a real nice job. You still see a little bit of his youth, but fortunately, he has a catcher that goes out and helps get him refocused and gets him back on track. Once he gets on track, he's pretty impressive."

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