(BaseballStL) — Adam Wainwright reached veteran-level a milestone last night, but he continues to marvel at his young teammates. The vaunted starting rotation for the Cardinals may be one of the youngest in the league, but the tail ends of games are handled by an equally youthful and equally deadly group.
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“It reminds me of those bullpens that are seemingly endless, where guys keep throwing 95 to 100 miles an hour,” Wainwright said after the team’s win Monday. “That’s what we have.”
There is certainly a plentiful helping of heat in the bullpen for the Cardinals. Between Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, there isn’t a fastball south of 95 mph to be found late in games.
The trio got their first taste of action Monday when they were charged with the preservation of a delicate one-run advantage.
“I really felt good about who we had in the game. With Siegrist and Carlos Martinez coming behind him, those guys are very capable of striking everybody they face out real quick and Trevor behind them as well,” Wainwright said. “I just had total confidence in them.”
Confidence was needed when the defense buckled in the eight inning. An error by Kolten Wong and a dropped throw by Matt Adams made for shaky ground with the game hanging in the balance. Despite their youth, the young Cardinal relievers never blinked.
“We stayed calm,” said Yadier Molina. “Those young guys in the bullpen, they don’t care about what happens out there. They’re going to stay calm and throw their stuff. That’s what they did.”
Martinez ended the threat with a strikeout and Rosenthal put the game in the books with a 13-pitch ninth.
It set a precedent for 2014, and was a continuation of what the rest of the team came to count on last season.
“We score a run and we know we have a good chance to win,” said Matt Carpenter.
For those tasked with keeping runs off the board, it’s nice to know even a one-run edge is safe in the hands of the next guy headed to the mound.
“We bring in Siegrist with easy 97, 98 from the left side with the crossfire, and then you bring in a guy that can throw 100 with a 96 mile an hour ball that moves a foot and then with Rosenthal behind them,” said Wainwright. “I’d like to pitch 9 a game but if I come out early I am feeling pretty confident.”