“I pitched in the playoffs last year, first time I’ve ever been in the bullpen,” Boggs said. “It’s got nothing to do with nerves. It’s got everything to do with being inconsistent with my delivery. Not getting in a consistent spot each and every pitch. that’s what I have to do. You walk the leadoff guy, he’s going to score. It’s got nothing to do with nerves. It’s got everything to do with execution.”
Boggs still has some time to get things sorted out with two weeks left in Spring Training. Pitching coach Dave Duncan remains a believer in what Boggs can offer the Cardinals’ bullpen, and he expects Boggs to get right. But Duncan acknowledged that the time is coming when Boggs needs to get straightened out.
“Boggs has a funky delivery that takes a while to get in a good rhythm with good timing to get good results,” Duncan said. “His stuff is great. He’s kind of like [Rich] Hill, his command is not what it needs to be yet. Both guys have deliveries that are troublesome.
“He’s got a lot going on. got a lot of movement in his delivery. I think he just finds a rhythm, and in spite of the fact that he’s got all these things going on, he’s able to get to a consistent release point. That’s why it takes him longer to get there.”
What’s fortunate for Boggs — but not ideal for the team — is not other relievers have not really dazzled to a point where Boggs’ roster spot or even his role might be in jeopardy. Boggs remains at least a candidate to seize the primary right-handed setup job for St. Louis.
But he needs to get right.
He allowed three hits and a walk on Thursday, but also struck out two. There were flashes, just not enough.
“The results weren’t what I wanted them to be or what I need them to be,” Boggs said. “I was just falling behind guys, which you can’t do. I’m striking guys out when I get ahead, making good pitches when I get ahead. But the guys I fall behind, I’m putting myself in a hole and you can’t do that. These guys are too good of hitters. When you put them in a count where they feel comfortable, they’re going to do damage. That’s what I did today, and that’s what I have to focus on getting better at.”
(Photo by Danny Wild/MLB.com)