I heard it again today after the Cardinals optioned Mitchell Boggs to Memphis. “Alright Boggs down, now can we get rid of Salas?”
And I have to say that I really don’t understand the dislike of Fernando Salas by a large portion of the fan base. I see it often, people wishing Salas wasn’t a part of the bullpen or the team. While I’ll admit that Salas really isn’t a true elite reliever like a Craig Kimbrel, he is a very good one more often than not. And those are the guys that usually make or break a bullpen.
But Salas has done so much for this team over the last few seasons that many are quick to forget.
In 2011 we found ourselves very much in a similar situation, without a closer. Ryan Franklin forgot how to pitch, much like Mitchell Boggs has this season. He kept being used early, despite his issues which probably compounded them. Boggs then got the first crack at closing, but lost it after his first blown save. Tony La Russa went to Eduardo Sanchez and his nasty slider next. It wasn’t until just a few games later that batters realized Sanchez’s slider wasn’t being called a strike and he quickly found himself getting into trouble. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Yesterday was the UCB trip to the ballpark where select members received the opportunity to have a brief Q&A session with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt III. My question for the team’s General Manager would have been when do the bullpen issues reach critical mass and require the team to start making moves? The answer? Today. Marc Rzepczynski will be headed to Memphis while Seth Maness should catch up with the big league club today. It was a surprise selection considering the struggles of the team’s setup guy and expected closer Mitchell Boggs.
Rzepczynski has allowed 16 baserunners in his 8 innings of work for a 7.88 ERA. He isn’t even doing his job as a lefty specialist, left handed hitters are teeing off of him with a .385 batting average.
Maness, 24, was an 11th round pick of the Cardinals in the 2011 draft. He has gained a reputation for being a control pitcher, walking just 18 batters in 248 minor league innings. Last season in Springfield he went 11-3 with a 2.97 ERA. This season in Memphis he has a 4.32 ERA to begin the season. Continue reading
ESPN posted this image to their Baseball Tonight Facebook page tonight with the caption, “The best pitcher in baseball is ____?” I just want to know how anyone with any knowledge of baseball kept a straight face while creating and then posting this graphic.
I get what they were doing. These are all pitchers who have 4 wins and 0 losses. Which we all know is the end-all-be-all of pitching statistics to determine ability, right? When you look deeper, not only is Lance Lynn not one of the top-5 pitchers in baseball, he’s only the fifth best starter on the Cardinals.
But this is ESPN after all. And that sad part is that everyone knows it.
Matt Adams‘ hot start will have to wait for its next chance to burn as the Cardinals announced today that they have placed him on the 15 day disabled list retroactive to April 22nd. Adams had complained about tightness in his back and visited the club doctor yesterday to review the injury. Apparently it’s bad enough to side line him for a couple weeks.
Adams had been hitting .542 with 3 home runs in the 8 games he’d played in this season. His slugging percentage currently stands at 1.042.
In his place the club has purchased the contract of infielder Jermaine Curtis. Curtis, 25, was a fifth round pick of the Cardinals in the 2008 draft out of UCLA. He split time between Springfield and Memphis last season and amassed a line of .310/.419/.373 with a home run and 25 RBI. He is off to a solid start in Memphis this season, posting a .292 batting average with a home run and 17 RBI in 17 games. Continue reading