ST. LOUIS -- Finding the appropriate spots to use Randy Choate out of the bullpen became increasingly difficult for manager Mike Matheny during a five-week stretch in which Choate was the lone lefty in the 'pen. But that void left with Marc Rzepczynski's departure has recently been filled -- and filled quite well -- by rookie Kevin Siegrist, whose successful start is providing Matheny with more flexibility in how he lines up his bullpen.
The presence of a second lefty -- and one who is not a defined left-on-left specialist like Choate -- has given Matheny another mid-game option. And having that option allows the Cardinals to now save Choate until a critical matchup arises later in the game. That flexibility was displayed in Monday's win, a game in which Siegrist earned his first big league hold.
With Shelby Miller out of the game after five innings and Matheny wanting to stay away from Choate that early, Matheny called upon Siegrist to start the sixth. Siegrist went on to face five hitters, three of whom were left-handed. He retired four of them -- including both right-handed hitters -- and was not hurt by the one walk he issued.
"What I watch, more than anything else, is how the hitters react," Matheny said. "And right now, they seem to be having as hard a time picking him up as the lefties do. When we need somebody to jump in there and get a couple lefties and a tough righty in between, he's proven that he can do that."
Siegrist, a 41st-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, has allowed only one hit and one walk in his first 6 2/3 Major League innings. He is the first Cardinals lefty to open his career with six straight scoreless appearances since '05-06, when Tyler Johnson had 11 scoreless outings in a row.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.