Thursday night’s struggles were apparently the final straw for the Cardinals’ organization. Getting the call in the 7th inning to help get Joe Kelly out of a mess, Mitchell Boggs proceeded to walk the first two batters he faced, allowing Milwaukee to score their third run of the ballgame. Trevor Rosenthal came in at that point and struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.
It was the most recent in a series of disappointing struggles for Mitchell Boggs who was arguably the best setup man in baseball in 2012. The injury to Jason Motte in spring training put the bullpen in flux and Boggs was never able to settle in to the closer’s role. As a result, he continued to struggle with both mechanics and confidence.
Despite the struggles, he was still regularly used by manager Mike Matheny notching 14 appearances, second most in the bullpen to Rosenthal. At this point though, Boggs is allowing 2.72 walks and hits per inning pitched and has a ballooned ERA of 12.66. He has blown two saves and been the pitcher on record for two more losses. A far cry from the pitcher who was dominant in the eighth inning last season.
After last night’s game the club had a meeting and the end result is that Boggs will head to Memphis where he can work on those mechanics and regaining that confidence in a less pressured situation. In the end, the club will need a right and confident Boggs in the bullpen to be successful this season. We all hope he can get back to the pitcher we all know he can be.
In his place, however, the Cardinals have called on Carlos Martinez to take his place. Martinez, 21, was the #38 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America’s preseason rankings. He missed his opportunity at big league spring training due to visa issues, but finally got those sorted out and was assigned to Springfield. In three starts in Springfield he pitched 11 2/3 innings striking out 9 and walking just 1. He had a 1-0 record with a 2.31 ERA.
Martinez should be interesting to watch. It will also be interesting to see how Matheny uses him. Seth Maness has been up since Monday and hasn’t gotten an opportunity to get into a game yet. Will Matheny write Martinez into the script immediately or wait for an open part to come up? I do know one thing. It doesn’t matter if these guys are up if they don’t get an opportunity to pitch. We have two guys in the bullpen who appear to have it figured out, Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica. And Rosenthal can’t maintain his current pace for 98 1/3 innings forever.
The 40 man roster should be full at this point, but I would expect the organization to move Rafael Furcal to the 60 day DL to open up a spot for Martinez.