ST. LOUIS — Is everything OK with Trevor Rosenthal?
The St. Louis Cardinals closer is battling ineffectiveness and a drop in velocity in the first two weeks of the season.
Rosenthal recorded his fourth save Sunday in the Cardinals' 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs, but he allowed a run and saw his ERA jump to 7.36 in 7 1/3 innings.
Rosenthal, whose average fastball was 97.7 mph last season and occasionally reached 100, has slipped to 95.7 this year.
"We noticed it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But he's still hitting 96 from time to time. That's nothing to turn your head to. It's nothing to be that alerted to or that worried about, but it's something that we do notice and make sure we're on top (of).
"A lot of it might have to do with location. When you're not sharp, you're not making the pitches on the part of the plate you need to, whether it's elevated or down low. You're making more pitches in the middle. That's probably the issue as much as anything. That combined with a little bit of a lack in velocity."
Rosenthal said he feels fine.
"Everything feels good at this point. I'm confident and I'm going to keep going out there and giving a good effort for these guys in this locker room," said Rosenthal, who didn't seem concerned about the drop in velocity. "I feel the same. I'm not exactly sure how to answer that. I'm just worried about throwing strikes. I've never been worried about the velocity."
Matheny said Rosenthal is "just not as sharp."
"When he does have a nice start and he gets 0-2 (on the hitter), he leaves one too much over the middle of the plate. That's just execution," Matheny said. "It looked like some of his breaking pitches, from the side, were better (Sunday) than what we've seen so far this year, which is encouraging. He just needs to get a little confidence going and make those tough pitches when he needs to."
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta doubled his hit total for the season by going 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored. Peralta, who didn't play Saturday, is batting .111 (4-for-36).
"He's not a guy that gets too worked up, but you could tell it was getting to him --just like it does with everybody sooner or later," Matheny said. "He wanted to come in here and have an impact with his bat. He had a couple of good at-bats in big situations. We needed it. If he gets going, it's going to be a fun bottom-of-the-lineup to watch."
Right fielder Allen Craig, batting .122 (5-for-41) also had a productive afternoon, going 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.
Ellis on rehab
Second baseman Mark Ellis said Friday night that he was going to report to Class AAA Memphis for a rehab assignment. But the Cardinals didn't formally announce the move until Sunday.
Ellis, recovering from tendinitis in his left knee, was 1-for-3 with a run scored and a strikeout in Memphis' 6-3 loss to visiting Iowa.
Ellis could remain on rehab for up to 20 days. However, Matheny said before the game Sunday that Ellis could join the Cardinals in Milwaukee, where they begin a three-game series Monday.
Long road trip
The Cardinals begin an 11-game trip to Milwaukee, Washington and New York at 7:10 p.m. Monday when they face the Brewers, who have won nine in a row and lead the NL Central by three games over St. Louis.
"We're playing a real hot Milwaukee team," Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter said. "They've got a good team. They're playing well; they're hot right now. But so are we. We're playing good. I like our chances. We're going to have to come in there and be ready to go, but it should be a fun series."
Lance Lynn (2-0, 6.55 ERA) will pitch the opener of the series against the Brewers' Matt Garza (0-1, 2.57 ERA).
Good as gold
Catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright received their 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards during a pregame ceremony.
Molina has won six consecutive Gold Gloves. The Gold Glove for Wainwright was his second; his previous came in 2009.