The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals Rosenthal being ridden hard in early action

There are those who believe that St. Louis Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas has never been the same since his first extended stint as a major leaguer.

In 2011, the right-hander was called upon by then-manager Tony La Russa time and time again. Salas threw 75 innings over 68 regular season games, preceded by three more innings at Memphis. Evolving into the closer’s role, he racked up 24 saves. By September, Salas had lost the ninth-inning job and his 12 2/3 post-season frames were less effective (five earned runs). In 2012, his ERA was up over two runs per game and now, he is rarely used in crucial situations.

Fast forward to 2013. At the current course and speed, Trevor Rosenthal could become this year’s Salas.

The hard-thrower has had his ups and downs in setting up over the first month, but seems to have reached his stride. After a stressful but successful 1 1/3 inning stint against Milwaukee on Thursday night, the 22-year-old has allowed just one earned run while striking out 12 and walking three over his last eight appearances, totaling eight innings.

Of considerable concern is Rosenthal’s workload. He has pitched in 16 of St. Louis’ 28 games, putting him on pace to appear in 92 regular season contests. To put that into perspective, it would place him in a tie for fourth all-time in Major League Baseball history in that category.

One of Mike Matheny’s acknowledged learnings from his first year as Cardinals manager was the need to give more rest to his key position players in his second season at the helm. Now the skipper seems on track to make the same mistake with Rosenthal.

In his defense, the bullpen turmoil his club is experiencing early in 2013 has left Matheny with fewer reliable relief options upon which to call. Still, the club needs to come up with some other dependable set-up answers before one of its most impressive young arms is spent.

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20 Responses to “Cardinals Rosenthal being ridden hard in early action”

  1. Brian Walton says:

    Tom Orf sent this along.

    Most relief appearances 1st 28 games-Cardinals

    Juan Agosto 1991 18

    Julian Tavarez 2004 16
    Clyde Shoun 1940 16
    Steve Kline 2001 16
    Steve Kline 2004 16
    Ray King 2004 16
    Tyler Johnson 2007 16
    Jeff Fassero 2003 16
    Trevor Rosenthal 2013 16

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Brian is onto a great point about Rosenthal. He’s just a kid and we do not need Mike Matheny destroying his bring career potential. Mo needs to wake up about Rosenthal. Its much better to lose some games in the short run than lose Rosenthal in the long run.

    Edwin Sanchez was promising, until he seemed to get a little overused in 2011 and he has never been the same.

    Mo needs to sign a veteran reliever or two and stash them down at Memphis, so we can reinforce the ML pen later.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Fornataro and even Blazek who isstill at AA are on the 40 man roster. Either can be readily elevated to the majors for an audition, as we try to find more relievers who can collect outs.

  3. Brian Walton says:

    Remember that this is happening during a time when the starters are doing particularly well. Chances seem good the bullpen will need to pitch more innings per game as the season goes on. In 2012, the starters averaged six innings. This year so far, they are at 6 1/3. If this season’s rotation ends up being comparable to last, the relievers would have to get one more out each game than they are now. That doesn’t seem like much, but it could be for a pen that is already shaky.

  4. Bw52 says:

    Carlos Martinez up.Boggs sent down.

  5. Brian Walton says:

    My take is here: “Martinez to replace Boggs in Cards pen”

    I am very worried that too much will be expected from Martinez. All he has to do is replace Boggs plus Scrabble, Kelly, Salas and Choate.

    As always, the Roster Matrix here at the blog is current.

    • Nutlaw says:

      Well, they have a lot of solid young arms in the minors. I’m not sure that Martinez is the most major league ready of the bunch, but it’s worth a shot. If he struggles, send him back down.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        I like the Martinez move. He is part of the long term future, so no reason not to let him get his feet wet in the majors.
        Given his pitch quality, he should be able to handle relieving. I expect him to be fine.
        But if he struggles, nothing lost, Martinez can return to the minors to resume developing as a starting pitcher. There seems little downside to this experiment.
        Meanwhile its good to send Boggs and Rzep down, to see if they can regroup and get themselves back together. If they cant get AAA batters out, they can stay at AAA. Its up to them.
        Mo was smart to sign Choate, so we have a ML quality LOOGY. Salas is ok. I want to see Matheny give the darn ball to Maness and spread out the workload. Use Martinez too. Add Gast maybe.
        And for gosh sakes, send down Joe Kelly, so he can work out his problems at Memphis too.

  6. crdswmn says:

    Well, now Matheny has a new arm to ruin.

    You can’t stop the runaway train of Cardinal fandom with a new toy. I’ve tried and failed. But they are impatient and fickle so if he screws up he’s toast.

  7. crdswmn says:

    Motte will have TJ surgery on Monday.

  8. blingboy says:

    Will Martinez have a bigger role than Maness and Curtis?

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Promoting Curtis only makes sense if we plan to release Old Wiggy this year. Right now, in the short run, promoting Curtis does not make a lot of sense, since ti burns a 40 man roster slot on a fringy guy.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Yes, but that would not be difficult.

    • blingboy says:

      Once Curtis goes back down, he and Jackson can compare notes.

      • Brian Walton says:

        Should be in about three days.

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        I predict jackson up for Descalso within a week.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Yes, it is true that Jackson is doing exactly what the Cards hoped for. He has jacked his batting average, given a second shot at AAA, now averaging around .345.

          My prediction is Jackson stays at AAA, unless and until Kozma is injured, in which case Jackson and Descalso would share SS. There is no reason to promote Jackson just to put him on the ML bench. Let him collect AAA reps.

          As the enthusiastic fog and hype of spring training begins to clear away, things seems to be about where they might be expected to be. Jackson had a good rookie season hitting at Memphis. He is improving during year 2. He seems a fine SS prospect. The Cards are playing him at 3B, SS, 2B to expand the number of ways he can help a ML team. Good.

          Greg Garcia has good hands defensively. He is having to adjust to AAA pitchers, so is off to a slow start. He will probably improve with the stick. At 2B, Wong is off to an encouraging start to the season.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I’d be very surprised by that move, CC. My prediction is that Freese gets warmed up, moving Carpenter to 2B most days and Descalso to the bench.

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