It might be time to press the panic button on the Cardinals bullpen.
After Trevor Rosenthal exited Wednesday night’s game with an apparent injury–his fastball velocity was down in the low 90s, so you knew something up amiss–Cardinals fans were bracing for the worst.
According to multiple reports, Rosenthal was headed back to St. Louis Thursday for further medical evaluation, meaning a roster move was on the way.
That move appears to be the return of right-hander Luke Weaver, who previously appeared with St. Louis this season as both a starter and reliever, but has spent most of the season with the Class-AAA Memphis Redbirds. For Memphis, Weaver has enjoyed a monster season, posting a 10-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in 15 starts and 77.2 innings.
Weaver has been relatively effective in his big league opportunities, as well, allowing six runs in 14.2 innings for a 3.77 ERA. As a replacement for Rosenthal, Weaver will likely be working out of the bullpen for this stint with the Cardinals, which leaves Mike Matheny with a potentially chaotic mixture of options for late inning situations.
Seung-Hwan Oh has settled down since his demotion from the closer’s role, but the Cardinals would probably be better served to keep him in his current matchup-based role outside the rigors of the ninth inning, particularly due to his struggles against lefties. Brett Cecil represents another tenuous option, considering his infamous struggles in save situations this season.
Crazily enough, Tyler Lyons may be the most sensible option for the first shot at closing duties in Rosenthal’s absence. Lyons has a 2.84 ERA on the season, and has not surrendered a run since July 7th, a streak that spans 12.1 innings. His 46 strike outs in 38 innings on the season represents the type of ratio befitting a closer. In desperate times, he could be the next man up.