At the end of the 2012 baseball season, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinal Nation were left with the sick feeling of what could have been after losing a 3-0 lead in the NLCS against the Giants. A team that wasnâ€™t supposed to make it and then proved everyone wrong, once again, was back in the spotlight only to fall before the big dance.
Now that the 2013 season is well underway, the Cardinals are turning heads again. With the best record in baseball at 35-18, St. Louis has blown through opponents with ease while losing very few games.
But with the best rotation in the league, one of the best offences and a savvy defense, the Cardinals are still lacking a key piece to a great teamâ€•a steady bullpen.
Thursdayâ€™s game was a perfect example. Why Mitchell Boggs is still at any level of professional baseball is beyond me. Leading 2-1 in the ninth inning against he Royals after a magnificent debut by top pitching prospect Michael Wacha, second-year manager Mike Matheny sent Boggs to the hill for the save attempt. With Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal both on the shelf after pitching a lot during the week, Matheny turned to the struggling Boggs. Bad idea would be an understatement at any point of any game. Especially when your team is up by just one and currently on a four-game winning streak.
Boggs has been atop my unsavory list since the second or third week of the season. After being one of the best eighth-inning guys in 2012, Boggs has been plain horrible this season. Sporting an 11.05 ERA with an 0-3 record and three blown saves, Boggs is the last person a manager should go to in a tight game. For goodness sakes, Boggs has given up 18 earned runs in just 14.2 innings this year.
Matheny cost the Cardinals a potential win by going with Boggs on Thursday. Fernando Salas has not been extremely good, but anyone is better than Boggs. Why not throw Joe Kelly or Victor Marte in his place?
Kelly has one of the strongest hard-throwing arms on the team, which is what a manager wants in late innings. Example, Rosenthal. Marte put together a 1-0 record with a 2.78 ERA and 10 saves at Triple-A Memphis this season before being called up. Why not that guy? It took losing the lead before Marte entered the game.
Boggs couldnâ€™t even get minor leaguers out this season when we was sent down, tallying a 5.06 ERA on five hits, three runs and five walks in just 5.1 innings of work.
Nothing justifies putting this guy in to pitch the ninth inning when you are leading. If he needs work throw him in a bullpen session or a blowout. Or, how about thisâ€•SEND HIM BACK DOWN AND LEAVE HIM!
Boggs is a Triple-A reliever at best. He has a 4.15 big league ERA with a 13-15 record and just six saves in 16 chances. Need I say more?
I have never been a fan nor will I ever be a fan of Boggs. The other downside is the trade market for him is nothing. Releasing him before he causes further damage is the only way to fix the problem. His head is not straight. The mechanics are all screwed up and he canâ€™t even find the strike zone with anything that has any movement. A mid-90s fastball is a beach ball in the bigs. Hints why Jeff Francoeur took him deep coming off the bench cold last night with none on, thank God, and none out to tie the game.
Bottom line is that the Cardinals front office needs to realize that Boggs is not and will never be a closer, good reliever or anything at the big league level again. The 2012 Boggs is gone. Stop ruining a good thing with unneeded bodies. Let the best team in baseball be the best team in baseball without Boggs. Always rememberâ€•thereâ€™s no crying in baseball.