On Friday night, the St. Louis Cardinals were leading the Seattle Mariners 3-1. Closer Trevor Rosenthal entered the game looking for his 15th save. Just one inning prior, Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning.
In the end, Adam Lind hit a walk-off home run to defeat the Cardinals 4-3, as Rosenthal blew his third save.
The loss snapped the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.
With this most recent loss, the conversation regarding the closer position has continued to heat up. Mainly, the discussion has been between the 26-year old Rosenthal and the 33-year old Oh. Now, the time has come… to give Oh his chance at being the Cardinals closer.
So far this season, Oh has a 1.66 ERA and 51 strikeouts, as well as a 0.79 WHIP.
Meanwhile, Rosenthal has a 5.63 ERA, 14 saves, 36 strikeouts, and a 2.04 WHIP.
Oh’s record is 2-0 this season, while Rosenthal’s record is 2-3.
Now, this is not to say that the current Cardinals closer is a bad pitcher. When Rosenthal is on his A-game, he is a top notch reliever that baffles batters with ease. The problem this season is that he is too inconsistent to be a straightforward closer and dependable. In the majority of his appearances this season, he has allowed at least one baserunner, and multiple times has even had the bases loaded.
Perhaps one of his worst performances came last week against the Texas Rangers, where he loaded the bases while the Cardinals barely maintained the lead. While Kevin Siegrist eventually came in and allowed the runs, they were charged to Rosenthal, and rightfully so.
Putting Oh at closer doesn’t necessarily need to be a permanent solution. At the very least, it could be a short-term alternative. Until the time comes when Rosenthal can go back to his 2015 form when he set the Cardinals record for saves in the season, it’s could very well be the time to put the closing of the game into the hands of the dominating pitcher from Korea.