“The last three times I went out there, I feel like I was right there. I had good stuff. I was getting ahead of hitters,” he said. “I made a couple bad pitches that got away but nothing crazy. There was some bad timing, some bad luck mixed in, things I can’t control, but my mindset was in the place it needs to be out there. I was confident.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Rosenthal he would no longer pitch in save situations the day after he allowed an Adam Lind three-run home run to blow a save Friday in Seattle. Rosenthal, who had 48 saves and was an All-Star in 2015, is 0-2 with two blown saves and a 14.14 ERA in June. Batters are hitting .406 off him this month.
Matheny hasn’t indicated who the team’s closer will be while Rosenthal works to regain the command that had him walk as many batters — eight — as he has struck out this month. Seung-Hwan Oh began warming up Sunday before the Cardinals scored two ninth-inning runs to eliminate the save situation. Kevin Siegrist and Jonathan Broxton are also ninth-inning options.
Matheny declined to specify what role Rosenthal will fill in the Cardinals’ bullpen. He remains one of the hardest throwers in baseball, with a fastball that consistently registers 96-99 mph. He did not pitch in the team’s two games after his demotion.
“It comes down to controlling the strike zone. It’s very simple,” Matheny said. “We’ll get him in there when we can, not necessarily in a designated role, but he’s going to pitch.”
Rosenthal had converted his previous two save chances before the blowup inning in Seattle, but in each case, the Chicago Cubs had multiple base runners in the ninth inning.
“It’s not fun, for sure. I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to do bad. I don’t want to let down the guys, especially a game like that in Seattle where we’re kind of rolling, where [Carlos] Martinez is pitching a great game, but I’m not the first person this has happened to,” Rosenthal said. “I’m not going to be the last person, and all these guys know I work my butt off and I try every day. It’s all I can control.”