PHOENIX -- It's been nearly four weeks since the Cardinals finished reinforcing their bullpen by acquiring Jonathan Broxton to follow the arrival of Steve Cishek, and the club continues to enjoy the benefits, both direct and indirect, of the additions.
The Cardinals' two newest relievers have made strong first impressions after enduring rough patches with their previous clubs. Cishek, who posted a 4.50 ERA with the Marlins, has allowed one run on seven hits in 11 appearances. Broxton, too, has allowed just one run in his 10 outings. He arrived in St. Louis after putting up a 5.89 ERA with the Brewers.
Their early success has been critical to the Cardinals' continued push toward a third straight National League Central title, but their presence alone has been equally important. With Broxton and Cishek around as experienced late-inning options, the Cardinals have reined in what had been an escalating workload for setup men Kevin Siegrist and Seth Maness.
When Broxton joined the team on Aug. 1, Siegrist ranked first and Maness second in the NL with 53 and 52 appearances, respectively. That put Siegrist on pace to appear in 83 games and Maness just behind him on pace for 82.
Those trajectories have been slowed, however, as the Cardinals have been intentional in watching workload. Maness has appeared in just eight games this month, while Siegrist, with a scoreless outing in Monday's win, has now pitched in nine. Siegrist has still made more appearances than any other NL reliever this season, but the separation between him and the rest of the pack has closed. He's currently on pace to appear in 81 games.
Maness sits tied for fourth among NL relievers with 60 appearances, putting him on pace for 78.
"We've definitely been able to back off on Siegrist if he needs it. Seth, too," manager Mike Matheny said. "Seth might argue. I think he likes being in there just about every day. But you see the difference in Kevin's stuff and without question, when [closer Trevor Rosenthal] is rested, it's different looking stuff. We've been fortunate to have Steve and Jonathan step in and throw some pretty significant innings."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.