One of the maddening nuggets of wisdom from the St. Louis Cardinals‘ loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday was the notion that current close Trevor Rosenthal was too tired to close for the fourth straight game. Firstly, Rosenthal wants to be a starter. He is a big, Roger Clemens-type with huge strength and durability, and is not made of paper mache. Secondly, Rosenthal got the ball to 98 mph, nearly as high as he has hit all season.
Also, what choice did manager Mike Matheny really have? Mr. Megastuff Carlos Martinez is tired for real because he has a long delivery and has been overused. He has not used Martinez in that role previously, and a one-run lead for a pitcher with great stuff but developing control is not the best situation for him to be put in.
Nevertheless, Martinez did have to come into the game because Rosenthal could not have found a gold strike zone if G. Gordon Liddy had been guiding him.
But this is not a knock against Rosie. The truth is that he has the potential to be a Curt Schilling-type of durable, dominant starter. What is a problem are his mechanics. Be it through wear or bad coaching, his smooth 90-degree powerhouse bat-sawing delivery has been replaced with a long backswing, 45-degree angle that is most assuredly pressuring his elbow and putting him at risk. This is likely why his control is failing and he is inconsistent. Why he has adopted that angle is a mystery.
The mechanical issues need to be addressed, as does the depth in the bullpen to keep problems like this from popping up again. The club will most likely take measures in the next few days to accomplish this, and hopefully allow both Rosenthal and Martinez to get their issues all ironed out. For Rosenthal, time is short because the bearded one Jason Motte, is nearing his return.