ANAHEIM -- With an average margin of victory of five in their 18 wins this season entering play Thursday, the Cardinals have had limited opportunities for closer Trevor Rosenthal, who saved a franchise-record 48 games last season. In fact, were he to stay at his current pace, he'd hardly surpass that in number of appearances in 2016.
Entering the team's series finale against the Angels, Rosenthal had made 11 outings in the team's first 34 games, five fewer than he did over the same span a year ago. The sporadic work meant that Thursday's summons marked the first time this season that Rosenthal had been called to pitch on back-to-back nights. In fact, only twice had he pitched with fewer than two days' rest.
While it likely had little to do with workload, Rosenthal did not bounce back well after closing out Wednesday's win. Summoned to secure the final two outs with a two-run lead on Thursday, Rosenthal loaded the bases with three walks in a 14-pitch span. That was all manager Mike Matheny could give him, and he turned the save situation over to Kevin Siegrist from there.
Siegrist bailed out Rosenthal to close the 12-10 victory.
"He's got good stuff and needs to trust it," Matheny said of Rosenthal. "There are just some days where it's tougher to find the zone, and today was one of them."
Rosenthal has not had much of an opportunity to find a rhythm. From April 24 to May 7, the Cardinals did not have a single save opportunity for him. That led Matheny to twice call on the 25-year-old right-hander in non-save spots so his period of inactivity did not stretch for too long.
In contrast, by this point in the 2015 season, Rosenthal had already pitched in three consecutive games on two different occasions.
"It's definitely different," Rosenthal said. "But I think it will all even out eventually. I'll take advantage of the extra time and work on other things when I have more rest. It's been nice to have that to ease into the season. But I look forward to pitching more."
While the number of appearances is down, Rosenthal hasn't actually thrown that many fewer pitches. His pitches per appearance average of 21.1 this year is significantly higher than the 16.8 mark he had through the team's first 34 games in 2015.
• Outfielder Tommy Pham transferred his rehab assignment to Double-A, where he was in Thursday's lineup as the starting center fielder batting second. Pham, who suffered a left oblique strain on Opening Day, was 4-for-18 in six rehab games with Triple-A Memphis.
• Top prospect Alex Reyes is moving closer to wrapping up his drug-related suspension. General manager John Mozeliak said the club expects Reyes to report to one of the organization's Minor League affiliates on May 22. Reyes was issued a 50-game suspension in November after testing positive for marijuana.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.