(BaseballStL) — The Cardinals were one out away from holding their first lead in 14 innings against the Cubs, but Trevor Rosenthal finally created a jam he couldn’t escape.
After getting the first out on a line drive to center, the Cardinal closer gave up a single, then a walk. The free passes have become an issue for Rosenthal, halving walked 10 before Tuesday’s game.
“The walks are something he’s going to have to cut down, that’s all there is to it,” Mike Matheny said after the game. “We give free bases in the ninth inning, bad things are going to happen.”
Following a visit to the mound, he was able to get a strikeout, but the bad things did indeed happen when Emilio Bonafacio looped a ball into right to tie the game with two outs in the ninth.
“That’s a pretty good kick in the gut when you head into the ninth,” Matheny said. “When guys are pushing right now and it feels like we’re just trying to find a way to score a run let a lone win a game and have a lead, that’s tough.”
Rosenthal was behind four if the first five hitters with a ball, and though it marked his first blown save of the season, he has flirted with danger plenty. Prior to Tuesday night, he posted 13 hits, 10 walks and nine runs in 16 innings, despite having 10 saves in 10 opportunities.
“Falling behind in counts definitely hurt me,” he said in the clubhouse after the game. “Obviously the walks are never good. I felt like Waino definitely deserved the win there, so it was tough.”
On Sunday against the Pirates Rosenthal gave up a ground rule double, back-to-back singles and a walk before getting out of the inning with a pop out and a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded to get out of the jam.
Matheny acknowledged Rosenthal seems to be out of synch lately, and rather than press to make pitches, he wants his young closer to use the eight-man safety net in the field.
“You got a one run lead, you have to figure out a way to use your defense if nothing else until he starts feeling good,” he said.
Despite the ugly outing, the perpetually polite closer was simple and direct after the game. It’s a matter of comfort, he said, and it’s a work in progress.
“It’s just a feel for the game. It’s part of it,” Rosenthal said. “Everybody goes through it, and you keep going out there, working on it and try to get better.”