Cardinals rookie reliever Siegrist continues to baffle hitters

ST. LOUIS — Kevin Siegrist won’t fib.

He checks.

“Occasionally,” the rookie lefty says.

And why wouldn’t he? An instant confidence boost is a quick glance at a stat sheet — or a couple of laptop clicks — away. His numbers have caught the attention of opposing teams, after all. He might as well study them, too.

“I don’t try to look at them too much,” Siegrist says. “But, you know, people will lie to you if they tell you they don’t look at their success. So, I’m happy with them.”

He padded the stats again during the Cardinals’ win against the Reds on Tuesday. He took over for Joe Kelly to start the seventh inning, then used a steady diet of fastballs — 11 of his 14 pitches were four-seam heaters  — to strike out the first three hitters in Cincinnati’s lineup.

“Kevin has been very consistent for us all season,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after the game. “The league knows about him right now, and they’re still having trouble picking him up.”

While most of the rookie arms on his team’s roster have been sent back and forth between St. Louis and the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis, the 24-year-old has constructed a 0.64 ERA. In 13 August appearances, he hasn’t surrendered a run. The four hits he has given up this month pale in comparison to the 20 strikeouts.

But every time Siegrist throws, he offers opposing scouts and hitters a chance to crack his code. Any inning on the mound is used against him. No one has seemed to figure him out yet, though. And he isn’t really hiding anything.

“I still just base everything off my fastball,” he says. “I think you can look at a lot of film on me, bu, I throw majority fastballs. I don’t know if that helps me out, because they don’t know when I’m going to throw off-speed pitches. I haven’t thrown a lot. Maybe they’re wondering when I’m going to throw it, and I’m not throwing it. I don’t know.”

Kelly, who of course enjoys handing games over to Siegrist, thinks guys just can’t catch up.

“He’s 6-foot-6 and throws 96 miles per hour,” Kelly says. “You can tell them what’s coming. As long as he puts it in a good place, they’re not going to hit it.”

They have continued to miss. And every time Siegrist caves and rewards himself with a glance at his statistics, he is pleasantly surprised.

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