Before these 2013 playoffs, Trevor Rosenthal had recorded four professional saves in his career. He had one in the minors in 2010 and three at the end of this current Major League season. And yet, after his ninth inning against the Dodgers on Saturday, can you picture anyone else closing games for the Cardinals? His ninth inning might have been one of the most dominant post season saves I have ever witnessed.
According to the Play Index at Baseball-reference.com, Rosenthal became only the sixth pitcher ever to record a post season save while facing three batters and striking them all out. The others:
- Kenley Jansen - NLDS (2013) in Game 4 against the Braves.
- Sergio Romo - WS (2012) in Game 4 against the Tigers.
- Kazuhiro Sasaki - ALDS (2000) in Game 2 against the White Sox
- Trevor Hoffman - NLDS (1998) in Game 3 against the Astros
- Randy Myers - NLCS (1990) in Game 3 against the Pirates.
That's it. Think of all the big-name closers missing from that list.
Rosenthal needed fourteen pitches to quell the Dodgers. According to Brooksbaseball.net, ten of them were strikes. They were all fastballs. Those fastballs averaged 99 MPH with a top speed of 101.2. Two were called strikes. Eight were swinging strikes and six of those were swing and misses.
His first victim was Yasiel Puig, who looks completely lost at the plate. This at bat went seven pitches. Puig took two strikes and swung through another. He fouled one off. Puig struck out. Puig wore the Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts in four plate appearances for the game.
Rosenthal's second victim was Juan Uribe, a player who has post season heroics on his resume. The closer dispatched Uribe on four pitches. Uribe fouled one off and took one ball that could have been a strike and swung and missed on two others.
Andre Ethier then pinch hit for Shoemaker and did not stand a chance. Ethier swung at three straight pitches, the second one being 101.2 MPH and did not get close to hitting anything. In the words of that Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Strike one-Strike two-Strike three-you're out." I am sure Ethier thanked manager, Don Mattingly, for that pinch hit opportunity.
Trevor Rosenthal now has eleven games under his belt as a post season pitcher. He has pitched a total of 13.2 innings. He has allowed no runs. He has allowed four hits and four walks (one intentional) and has struck out 22 batters. That is a force of nature right there.
You cannot take away what Michael Wacha did in this game. It was the biggest factor in why the Cardinals won the game. But gosh, you had to watch that ninth inning and whistle at how Trevor Rosenthal is rocking and rolling coming out of the bullpen. What a weapon.