(BaseballStL) -- Even after tying for the National League lead in saves back in 2012 Jason Motte is not going to just be given his old role as closer back. There’s a process that comes along with being put in critical innings.
And Motte knows that.
But after yet another shutout inning against the Nationals on Sunday afternoon – dropping his ERA to 2.16 – Motte is gaining the confidence of everyone around him. He’s also gaining the velocity he lost during Tommy John surgery.
The once-closer hit 96 mph in a big strikeout of Jayson Werth in the 8th inning.
“The harder you throw the more you can get away with,” Motte said. “I threw a couple good pitches to (Jayson) Werth. But it’s also about what you’re throwing and where you’re throwing it.”
“The strikeout there at 96 (miles an hour) I know is something he pays attention to and we do too,” Mike Matheny said. “We know he has some more zip on it and you’re going to see more swings and misses against a guy like Werth who he’s had trouble with in the past.”
With Trevor Rosenthal not quite as dominant as the Cardinals are used to and Carlos Martinez struggling as the setup man, there could be a role for Motte in the late innings at some point this season. The Cards replaced Edward Mujica with Rosenthal in the 9th inning last year just as Motte replaced a slew of struggling closers three years ago.
You have no clue what can happen in the next several weeks and months. If you pitch well, the role will be there for you. Well, thus far, Motte is pitching well.
It remains to be seen what his role will be when all is said and done.