If we could choose one player to represent our season, who would it be?
Let’s look at our season: Our current record is 70 and 59, 1 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central and leading the Wild Card chase. Not bad, but seeing as how we were expected to win the division, a bit disappointing to say the least.
So which player sums that up?
Some would say Oscar Taveras, but given the unreal expectations placed on him, I don’t think that’s the case. He was called up and anointed our savior, when, if we had performed according to pre-season expectations, we shouldn’t have needed a savior.
One of the defining factors of the Cards season has been their inconsistency. Not strong starts and fades or slow starts then getting hot, but rather a lot of starts and stops. When the fans get excited, the Cards go into a funk, When we get upset, they go on a run. Who epitomizes that?
Look no further than the end of our bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal, our closer, has been a roller coaster ride all season long. He has 38 saves, but has blown 5 attempts for a 88% success rate. He also has a 3.51 ERA, which isn’t very good for a closer. By contrast, Craig Kimbrel, who also has 38 saves and has blown 4 saves himself, has an ERA of 1.76 suggesting that while he may have blown 4 saves, he’s way more effective overall.
Trevor has had hot streaks and cold streaks, stops and starts. Admittedly, many managers might have removed Trevor from the closers role by now, but Mike being Mike has stood by his man, as he tends to do. So we get to watch Trevor blow by three batters one night and get blown up by six batters the next. Kind of like the Cards, they start to get on a run, getting us excited, then drop a series to an also ran like the Phillies.
A big part of Trevor’s inconsistency, (besides his control) is that right now he still seems to be a thrower getting by on sheer talent, rather than a polished pitcher. He needs to learn that, maybe if he took a few miles off his heater, he might be able to spot it better and surprise a batter with a pitch on the edge of the strike zone. Of course this is not an easy lesson to learn. It’s a lesson Nolan Ryan never learned. That’s why, in addition to all of his awesome stats, Ryan is also is is the career leader in walks.
So there you have it, Trevor Rosenthal, the epitome of the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals.