Last night Trevor Rosenthal was called on in the 9th inning of a tie game against the Boston Red Sox. It was his third straight appearance. As Bernie Miklasz noted in a column he wrote today, Rosenthal has been well used this season. He’s thrown nearly 200 more pitches than the other top closers in the league this season. Part of that is Matheny’s insistence to use him in virtually every save situation, often on consecutive days, and even, like last night, when its a tie game late. It doesn’t help that thanks to the offense, most wins are save situations these days.
And really, Mike Matheny can see all these numbers that I’m looking at. Rosenthal has seen a lot of work this season and he is literally a worse option on back-to-back days than any other bullpen option would be to take his place in that single inning. So lets look at those stats.
In his career, Trevor Rosenthal has made 40 appearances having pitched the day before. Over those 40 appearances he has thrown 38 innings and has a 4.03 ERA to go along with a 1.53 WHIP. When he has one or more day of rest, he has a 2.46 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 113 innings.
When he’s pitched the day before, his opponents have a line of .265/.355/.333. While when he has a day or more of rest he holds batters to a line of .202/.237/.297. The difference is striking. It basically means that opponents have a 12% better chance of getting on base against Rosenthal when he pitched the day before. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want to hear as I’m bringing in my closer.
And it’s not like Matheny doesn’t have other options. The Cardinals have multiple options in Pat Neshek, Kevin Siegrist, and Sam Freeman who can matchup and have had success against both lefties and righties this season. Even Jason Motte has had more success keeping hitters off base than Rosenthal has over the last month.
Rosenthal has either been the pitcher of record in a loss or recorded a blown save 8 times this season. Six of those, including two blown saves that turned into losses, were while pitching on consecutive days.
Don’t get me wrong, Trevor Rosenthal is a great pitcher. Consecutive days just doesn’t seem to be something he can really handle and he doesn’t have to when Matheny has other competent relievers in his bullpen that he simply refuses to use because it’s an almighty save situation and Rosenthal is the closer.