For Boggs, confidence is the issue

Cardinals fans have seen this scene far too often in 2013. Unfortunately, I called this when I wrote a couple sentences about his return. Mitchell Boggs wasn’t fixed yet. Boggs still isn’t fixed yet and we learned that once again with his appearance in the ninth inning of a one run game, an appearance that was inexplicable to most every fan on Twitter. Matheny seemingly gift-wrapped the game for the Royals, bringing in Boggs who allowed a first-pitch home run by Jeff Franceour to tie up the ballgame.

Mike Matheny is a popular manager for players because he has a great deal of confidence in his players. Regardless of what is going on or what they’ve done recently, Matheny puts them in position to do what they’ve always done. At this point, Boggs’ issues are far more Matheny’s fault than his own.

Inexplicably Mike Matheny likes to use Boggs in tight situations to hopefully get him kickstarted and be able to parlay a successful outing into another and another until he is “back.” I understand Matheny is pulling for Boggs to get right. Every single one of us in Cardinal Nation is doing that right now. But whatever Boggs is doing now it is obvious to all of us, or at least it should be, that it isn’t working. Yet he continues to be brought into close ballgames and he continues to not be right.

Since his return to the big league club, Boggs has allowed 4 hits and 3 walks over four innings pitched. Two of those hits have been home runs.

In the wee hours of this morning while explaining his decision to use Boggs in the 9th inning last night, Matheny told the Post-Dispatch, “I had a lot of confidence that he was going to get the job done.” He indicated that, with Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal being unavailable, he wanted someone on in the ninth inning who had experience in that role. Matheny was about the only one in the world who had confidence that Boggs would get the job done.

In trotted Boggs, who did exactly what his previous ninth inning experiences would have you expecting. It hopefully doesn’t escape Mike Matheny and the others in the Cardinals’ organization that Boggs’ career record in the ninth inning is littered with far more disappointment than success. Boggs has logged 48 innings worth of ninth inning work in his career. He sports a 5.25 ERA and allows 1.63 walks and hits per inning pitched. Combine that with a struggling season and you have a recipe for disaster.

And it shard to argue small sample size on that anymore. That’s a season’s worth of work over six years. That’s called a track record. Boggs may have experience in the ninth inning, but he doesn’t have a track record of success. Confidence doesn’t win ballgames, unfortunately for us.

Last night I figured that the opposition to Boggs had reached a fever pitch once again and that John Mozeliak was going to have to do something about it. That news came this morning when the Cardinals optioned Boggs to Memphis in exchange for minor league reliever Keith Butler, who has excelled as a closer in both Springfield and Memphis this season.

I hate that this has happened to Mitchell Boggs. I really hope that he can get a handle on this and kick it and return to the Boggs we all knew and loved in 2012. Hopefully this time in Memphis, it’ll get figured out. If not? I think it’s going to be a tough final couple months of the season for the Cardinals pitching staff.