ST. LOUIS - At just 25-years-old Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal reaches an incredible milestone by recording his 100th career save, good for 5th in franchise history.
Unfortunately for the flame-thrower the century mark happened in front of only 200 fans who stuck around after the 3:21 rain delay, but his teammates picked him up celebrating the accomplishment when they entered the clubhouse.
“I was surprised. I didn't know that anybody had any idea,” Rosenthal said with a smile. “They made it special for me. I appreciate all the guys coming together and celebrating.”
The final outs of his 100th save came in typical Rosenthal fashion. The hurler threw 12 consecutive heaters ranging from 95-98 miles per hour before freezing Jorge Soler with an 86 miles per hour change-up.
“It's a big deal,” said a clearly proud Mike Matheny. “I'm happy for him. He came out and it was such a nice way to watch him do it too. Where he comes out first pitch and he's really pounding the zone and staying ahead in the count. Just an overpowering, easy effortless fastball.”
It’s an achievement that should be applauded. Rosenthal, collecting his 100th save in his 115th chance, should reach third on the Cardinals all-time list by the end of this season by passing Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter (127) and Todd Worrell (129). He does have quite a way to go to catch the leader, Jason Isringhausen, who has 217. Lee Smith is second with 160.
“It's really special to be part of those names in this organization,” Rosenthal added. “It's an honor to have the chance to do it. That they trust me out there. To have that accolade is really special.”
Among active closers Rosenthal isn’t a slouch. He ranks 15th and is the youngest among the group. It’s a tough job to be cheered when successful and cursed when you falter - a role in which one of Rosenthal’s teammates has intimate knowledge.
“I think it's great,” Adam Wainwright said of Rosenthal’s feat. “He has such a great arm, an unbelievable talent and unbelievable stuff to with his talent. With his mindset he's perfect for closing a perfect late inning a guy. He has a very short memory when things go wrong with an ability to quiet the noise and calm the emotions and go out there and pitch very consistently. He's very good.”
In the last two seasons Rosenthal has accumulated 45 and 48 saves respectively. If he can continue to reach at least 40 saves, he will take over Izzy’s first place spot by 2018 at the ripe old age of 28.
“He's setting his own pace right now,” Wainwright added. “I don't think any other closer we've ever had in this organization has ever been on the pace he's on. We've just got to keep him where he's at. He's doing a great job. He's a humble guy. He's working hard. It's exciting to watch.”