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Boggs-ing Down

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Filed Under: Heroes and Goats | Kansas City Royals | San Francisco Giants | St. Louis Cardinals
Who knew that the stellar play by Alcides Escobar on Wednesday night's game won a game for the Royals on Thursday?

With Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal off-limits due to their recent usage (and, in Rosenthal's case, warming up even when he wasn't used), Mitchell Boggs got the call last night with a one-run game in the ninth inning.  If Escobar doesn't make that diving stop, most likely Michael Blazek pitches the ninth yesterday, perhaps making Mujica available for this one.  Maybe not--both pitchers were warming at the same time--but knowing that Michael Wacha was three outs from a well-deserved win, he might have used the big guns to secure it.

However, that's a case of parallel universe baseball.  In this one, the regulars weren't available and Boggs came in.  While Boggs had done OK in Memphis, he'd struggled after his return.  Then again, there wasn't anyone else down there that immediately inspired more confidence, so Mike Matheny didn't seem to have many options.

Boggs had a large part of the fan base against him due to his early struggles.  After last night, giving up a home run to blow the win for an already-beloved Wacha?  That portion grew significantly.  When you realize just how limited the Royals power has been, that they'd only stroked two home runs in like 15 games, both by Miguel Tejada, it stings even more.

That said, the behavior of some of the on-line fan base last night was shameful.  Boggs's wife Lele is on Twitter and had some extremely hateful and detestable things directed her way as her husband's surrogate.  That's ridiculous and unacceptable.  We don't like the results, we can argue whether Boggs should have been in or if he should be on the roster, but there's no doubt that he is trying to get outs as hard as he can.  Adding on to that, the worth of a person is not determined by whether they succeed on the baseball field.  Did hitting that home run make Jeff Francoeur a better person?  Sure, it made Royal fans happier with him, but would he have been a different person if he struck out?  Of course not.  The anonymity of the Internet has allowed a lot of people to spout off when they wouldn't in person.  And if you would say such terrible things to Boggs or his wife in person, you really need to reevaluate your life.

Before we leave the bullpen, can anyone tell me why Victor Marte stayed up when Wacha was activated instead of Blazek?  Blazek, who didn't get any major league time, just a little bullpen warmup, might have done just as badly last night.  Then again, he might have done better, as we've seen with a lot of these rookie arms.  With Marte, we know what we are going to get, and it's not going to be pretty.  I thought Marte was up just as an insurance policy in case there was one of those games where all the bullpen guys got used.  Blazek could have filled that role and likely filled it much better.  There has to be an injury to get him back on the roster before 10 days are up, but I can't imagine Marte is up past that, even if Mike Matheny tends to really enjoy running him out there.

While I'm giving Boggs the Goat because, well, it's tough not to given the situation, strong consideration has to be given to Matt Holliday.  First inning, runner on second with one out, Holliday is obviously trying to go the other way and lines out to second.  OK, understand the idea, just didn't work out.  Second time up, bases loaded with one out.  Wacha's on third after getting a hit in his first at-bat, but had been held up by Jose Oquendo after Carlos Beltran's hit.  It was reasonable of Oquendo, not wanting the young gun to risk a play at the plate, but it became a big play when Holliday hit a little tapper back to the mound, allowing Jeremy Guthrie to go home and get the force there.  Third time up, two outs and two on, he hits a grounder to second, ending the inning.  A hit in just one of those times and we are probably talking about the Cardinals sweeping all their meetings against Kansas City this morning.

So what went right?  Michael Wacha went right.  With all the hype going into this game, I was sure that there was going to be a letdown in his performance, that he'd give up a few runs, maybe allow that elusive home run that the Royals had been looking for, things like that.  Instead, Wacha gets a hit before he gives one up (shades of Shelby Miller in his first start last year) and retires the first 13 batters he faced.  After a "rough patch" in the fifth, where he allowed the double to break up the perfecto and a single that snapped the shutout, he threw two more perfect innings.  He struck out six in his time out and generally did everything people were expecting.  The biggest test might not be his next start, at home against the Diamondbacks, but if I'm reading the schedule right, he'd get the final game of the Reds series in Cincinnati, which oh-by-the-way would be ESPN's Sunday Night game.  One start at a time, though.

Kudos also to Joe Kelly, who came into a bases-loaded, no-out situation after the extensive rain delay and got three outs without allowing a run.  Even though Kelly has struggled, you wonder if the results of the game would have been different had he come in instead of Boggs.  No telling.

Offensively, Matt Carpenter and Beltran both had two hits but the rest of the offense couldn't quite get into gear.  So often they'd put together a two-out rally, but never be able to bring it to fruition.  Allen Craig and David Freese drove in runs in the first with two outs, but other than that, there just wasn't anything to get excited about as Guthrie got back on track.

Speaking of getting back on track, Jake Westbrook threw a bullpen yesterday and felt good enough to start talking about rehab starts.  He could go out as early of Tuesday of next week and start his rehab clock ticking.  While the youngsters are obviously holding their own, getting a little veteran leadership back in the rotation wouldn't be a bad thing, especially since those innings are going to start piling up on young arms quickly.

After being out late last night/this morning (that rain delay really came at the wrong time), the Cards host the defending champs this evening.  St. Louis won two of three out in San Francisco at the beginning of the season, including a 14-3 pounding in the final game of the series.  That game was started by Matt Cain, who will go tonight for the Giants.  Cain has had his struggles with the Redbirds in the past.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Matt Holliday 53 45 8 1 0 3 6 4 11 .178 .264 .400 .664 0 2 0 2
Carlos Beltran 26 23 8 2 1 1 5 3 3 .348 .423 .652 1.075 0 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 25 22 9 1 0 0 1 1 1 .409 .440 .455 .895 0 1 0 1
Jon Jay 15 13 7 0 0 0 0 1 2 .538 .600 .538 1.138 0 0 0 1
Daniel Descalso 14 12 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 .083 .154 .083 .237 1 0 1 0
David Freese 14 9 2 1 0 0 2 2 4 .222 .308 .333 .641 1 2 0 0
Ty Wigginton 14 14 5 1 0 1 6 0 2 .357 .357 .643 1.000 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 12 11 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 1 0 0
Matt Carpenter 9 9 7 0 0 1 6 0 1 .778 .778 1.111 1.889 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Pete Kozma 7 7 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .286 .286 .286 .571 0 0 0 0
Shane Robinson 4 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 .000 .250 .000 .250 0 0 1 0
Matt Adams 2 2 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 .500 .500 1.000 1.500 0 0 0 0
Total 203 178 50 7 1 6 31 13 34 .281 .333 .433 .766 2 6 2 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/31/2013.

Holliday has struggled and you probably won't see Daniel Descalso in this one, but otherwise Cain hasn't fooled a lot of St. Louis hitters.  Here's hoping he's not learned any new tricks.  It's been a rough season so far for him anyway, with a 5.00 ERA even going into this one.  His last two outings at home have been fairly good (though he only went five innings in his last one) but away from AT&T Park, it's been a different story.

The Cards send one of the youngsters to the mound to deal with the champs.  Well, that doesn't narrow things down, I know, and honestly Shelby Miller feels like a grizzled vet compared to people like Wacha and Tyler Lyons.  Miller gave up just two runs in 5.1 innings back in that April series and, in limited action, has done OK against the G-men.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Brandon Belt 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .200 .000 .200 0 0 0 0
Angel Pagan 5 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .400 .800 0 0 0 0
Hunter Pence 5 4 2 0 0 1 1 1 1 .500 .600 1.250 1.850 0 0 0 0
Buster Posey 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Gregor Blanco 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .500 .000 .500 0 0 0 0
Brandon Crawford 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Pablo Sandoval 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0
Marco Scutaro 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167 0 0 0 0
Andres Torres 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Total 35 30 6 0 0 1 2 5 6 .200 .314 .300 .614 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/31/2013.

Miller pitched well against the Giants in the NLCS last year as well, so he's got a bit of familiarity with them.

It's possible I'll post this weekend--as you know, Saturday posts aren't unheard of from me, though they aren't regular--but if not, this is the last post before everything changes.  Be sure to check here Monday to see what I mean, but I promise you, reading C70 At The Bat will never be the same!


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2 Comments

2 Comments | Leave a comment

I think half the boo's were for matheny. I don't understand his logic and think he will and has cost us numerous victories. I also don't understand why mujica was not available. Today's players are over protected. You can go 3-4 games when a closer is not needed. Let him pitch.

Please get rid of Boggs! Why does Matheny keep using Boggs? I agree that it is basically Matheny's fault.

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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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