A St. Louis Cardinals writer posed an interesting question on Twitter last nigh: what would you consider to be the over/under on blown saves for Mike Matheny to ‘demote’ Mitchell Boggs from closer?
Last night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boggs had his first blown save–in his second appearance of the season. In 2012, Boggs had three before he was replaced by Jason Motte, and four the previous season.
Taking that into consideration, I place the over/under on Boggs at two and I’ll take ‘over’. If I’m Matheny I don’t let him blow any more than three games before moving him back to his eight inning role. I would actually pull him after two blown saves, but I’m giving him a pass for last nights crazy 10-9 loss to Arizona. That game was all over the place mainly because the early pitching was so weak.
So who replaces him? At this point you’ve got to give Trevor Rosenthal a shot. The guy throws at or near 100 MPH pretty consistently, yet he also was responsible for a blown save last night. Your other options would be Fernando Salas or Edward Mujica–neither of which have the stuff to close out games, though, Salas does have the experience. As for Rosenthal, you want a pitcher who throws like he does for that last inning. You want a fireballer to blow hitters away not just for a late inning, but to put the game to an end.
Granted Rosenthal has no closing experience, but if Boggs falls apart early and Motte isn’t ready, he’s the best option. I’d consider Salas first, but quickly balk at the idea because of his six blown saves as a closer in 2011.
The Cardinals are no stranger to the closer carousel and Motte’s injury may start the ride again. Could last night’s blow save have gotten to Boggs? We’ll find out in the next week or so.
Hopefully Matheny will know when to say when.