Results tagged ‘ Mitchell Boggs ’

Saturday non-Furcal tidbits

I and my teammate Ken Gurnick are actively chasing this Rafael Furcal story, but this particular round of tidbits is a Furcal-free zone. Updates from this afternoon in the clubhouse…

 

* Lance Berkman sits once again, but TLR sounded a lot like he expects Berkman to start tomorrow night. Not a guarantee, but he definitely sounded more confident about that than he has in a while.

* The absence of Berkman added up, today, to Skip Schumaker in right field and Ryan Theriot taking his place at second base. Theriot mentioned last night that he has a bit of shoulder soreness, and that’s part of why he’s playing second. But, as I hinted last night on Twitter, it’s hard to see it as total coincidence that Theriot’s first appearance at 2B came just as a potential Furcal deal appeared to be picking up some steam.

* The situation with the backup catchers hasn’t really changed. Tony Cruz is improved and is close to fully available. Gerald Laird is also improving but still basically emergency-only.

* Mitchell Boggs is dealing with another recurrence of the back soreness that has bothered him off and on this year. He’s likely out a couple of days.

* TLR said that although the team is somewhat short on relievers today, he’d still prefer not to use Lance Lynn as a long man.

“But,” he said,” we want to win the game today, and if we need two innings from him, you worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”

* Allen Craig is still not especially close, but TLR said he could conceivably join the club by the end of the upcoming road trip.

And, finally, the playlist, which is another iPhone shuffle special:

Duran Duran, “Hold Back the Rain”
The Killers, “Mr. Brightside”
Joe Jackson, “Breaking Us In Two”
Cold War Kids , “Cold Toes On The Cold Floor”
Violent Femmes, “Confessions”

-M.

 

Saturday tidbits: the ever-evolving bullpen

The tarp is out right now at GABP, but from people I’ve talked to, it sounds like we should be OK for the game.

* We had a long chat with Dave Duncan today, about a lot of different aspects of the bullpen. I’ll be writing on it at some length later this afternoon, but a couple of main things came out of it. One, for now, it appears that Eduardo Sanchez’s role is going to change for a while. They feel he’s pitched differently in the ninth than he did when he was pitching in other situations. So although he’s likely unavailable today, he probably wouldn’t be the guy to close a game even if he were fully fresh.

* Two, the two guys they WOULD aim toward, at least for now, are as mentioned a few days ago: Mitchell Boggs and Fernando Salas. Though Boggs’ profile has dropped quite a bit since that one rough game in Houston, Duncan maintains that he likes what he’s seeing from Boggs, and that there’s a good chance he would be the guy to close out today’s game. Duncan is also very pleased with the way Salas is throwing. The complication is that Salas threw two innings yesterday — however, he only threw 17 full-effort pitches (plus four on an intentional walk).

* Matt Holliday still has some soreness from hitting his left foot with a foul ball yesterday, but he’s OK to play and is in the lineup.

* Ryan Theriot, as noted in the lineup post, is back in there after missing some time with a sore right oblique. Nick Punto is out but will likely start at third base tomorrow. Lance Berkman will play tomorrow against lefty Travis Wood.

And, finally, the playlist:

Sleeper Agent, “Get It Daddy”
Tokyo Police Club, “Your English Is Good”
Beck, “Cellphone’s Dead”
Gang Gang Dance, “Mindkilla”
TV On The Radio, “Will Do”
(all stuff I heard on Sirius XMU and Alt Nation on the drive over here yesterday)

-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, April 24

Note of the night: It appeared as though we might get a few extracurriculars on Sunday night, but they never materialized. And according to the interested parties, they weren’t as close as perhaps it seemed from the press box or the stands.

When Yadier Molina went deep in the sixth inning, he celebrated with some… vigor. He raised an arm in the air, and he hustled around the bases in a manner that couldn’t help recalling Brandon Phillips’ spring around the bases two nights earlier.

Cardinals fans were delighted, Reds fans were chagrined, and I tweeted at the time that perhaps Molina might ought to hope that he didn’t hit again — the implication being that the celebration might garner him a fastball in the ear.

So, what do you know, but two innings later, Molina faced Aroldis Chapman. And the first pitch from Chapman sailed well in on Molina. Warnings were issued, and anybody with a sense of the recent history between these two clubs couldn’t help drawing some conclusions.

Except… those conclusions may have been wrong. Molina, for one, said he saw no ill intent in Chapman’s pitch.

“I don’t think so,” he said when I asked him about it. “I don’t think so. I don’t know. I don’t think they did [try to hit me]. But if he did do, I don’t care. We got the win.”

TLR didn’t really have much to say about the warnings, though he seemed to imply that they weren’t really shocking to him.

“[Umpire] John Hirschbeck knows what he sees,” the manager said. “This guy is as veteran as anybody umpiring. … The catcher moved in and he threw the ball inside. You can’t read minds. But he had probably the best view for it, and that’s what he called.”

At least one person on the Reds side said they didn’t really take any umbrage over Molina’s celebration, though. And besides, they pretty clearly thought they still had a chance to win the game — loading the bases on a hit-batter would be kind of silly if you were still trying to win. If they thought that game was out of hand, the pitcher likely would have been someone other than Aroldis Chapman.

Is it POSSIBLE that the pitch from Chapman was a purpose pitch? Sure, it’s possible. But based on people I talked to on the Cardinals side, based on people my colleague Mark Sheldon talked to on the Reds side, and based on taking a longer look at the whole situation, my inclination is that it was not.

Stat of the day: Right-handed hitters are 3-for-27 against Mitchell Boggs this year with one double, one walk and 11 strikeouts. That’s a .111/.172/.148 line on the year.

-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Punto, Holliday, Boggs, Greene, etc

* Nick Punto will be headed to Florida when the Cardinals leave town for the West Coast. He’ll work out with the extended Spring Training folks for a few days, and could start playing EST games as soon as Monday.

* Matt Holliday continues to get closer. He ran on the field today and took some swings.

* Mitchell Boggs warmed up last night and would have come in the game in the 8th if the pitcher’s spot had come up in the bottom of the seventh. TLR said he’d still prefer to get Boggs one or two more low-leverage outings before really throwing him in the fire, but if the games don’t allow that, then the games don’t allow it.

* Tyler Greene will likely get a start over the weekend in San Francisco. He would play 2B against either Jonathan Sanchez on Friday or Barry Zito on Sunday. Greene is the only Cardinal hitter who has not started a game.

* ESPN announced that former Cardinal Mark Mulder will be doing some work on Baseball Tonight.

* Though TLR said yesterday that David Freese could have started today, in the end it was Daniel Descalso who got the call at 3B. The plan all along has been for Freese to play two out of three in the early going, so this isn’t a setback but rather just a case of staying with the plan.

And, finally, the playlist:
Letters to Cleo, “From Under the Dust”
New Order, “Elegia”
The Knife, “Neverland”
Nina Gordon, “Horses in the City”
R.E.M., “Gardening At Night”

-M.

Saturday camp tidbits: Boggs, Freese, Berkman, Spagnuolo, etc

It’s another gorgeous day in Jupiter, a little bit cool with no clouds.

* Mitchell Boggs is scheduled to pitch today, and is a priority pitcher. They will get him an inning almost no matter what else happens in the game.
* David Freese will start tomorrow and Monday, the first time this spring that he gets back to back games.
* Lance Berkman isn’t expected to play the outfield until at least Thursday’s game against Florida. He’ll DH in games where that’s an option, or sit out, until then. 
* Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is in camp today as a guest of TLR. 
* It’s no secret at this point, really, but TLR acknowledged today that Matt Carpenter has at least some shot at making the roster. I’ll be writing on this at more depth later today, but in short, he’s not just getting ABs for down the road. 
* Another player who has emerged this camp, John Gast, is a bit of a longer shot, but the manager also acknowledged that it’s not impossible that Gast could make the club. I’d definitely bet against it, but after a round of cuts yesterday, Gast is still here and some guys who looked like better shots are not.
Today’s playlist is the first five tracks from The Clash’s debut album (UK version, natch):
“Janie Jones”
“Remote Control”
“I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.”
“White Riot”
“Hate & War”
(that’ll wake ya up on a Saturday morning…)
-M.

Friday lineup and early tidbits

Still awaiting a Tigers lineup.

A few early tidbits, prior to our morning session with TLR:
* Chris Carpenter is scheduled to throw live batting practice at 10:15 a.m. ET. The hitters who will face him are Bryan Anderson, Tony Cruz, Adron Chambers and Pete Kozma. 
* Mitchell Boggs is listed as a backup-available pitcher today. He’s on the card, but on a separate line from the guys who are slated to pitch.
* Justine Siegal, whom you’ve likely read a good bit about at this point, will be throwing batting practice to David Freese, Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot this morning.
* Lance Berkman is back in, as DH.
And now the lineup:
1. Theriot SS
2. Craig RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman DH
6. Freese 3B
7. Rasmus CF
8. Molina C
9. Schumaker 2B
Lynn P
-M.

Wednesday camp tidbits: Optimism (for a change)

A day after Chris Carpenter and Mitchell Boggs got hurt, there seems to be optimism regarding both, and particularly Carpenter.

* I talked to Carpenter this morning and he seemed to be moving around just fine. He said he feels better than yesterday. It sounds like he’s likely to miss one or possibly two starts. 
* Did not get a chance to talk to Boggs yet, but TLR sounded optimistic on him as well. I think it’s safe to say that Boggs’ situation is a little less clear than Carpenter’s at this point, but obviously I’ll continue to chase it. We’ll have a story on the site updating both of them soon, and more depth on the situation later in the day.
* David Freese will make his game debut Monday against the Twins in Fort Myers. The official line continues to be that he’s coming along very well. Freese could pinch-hit in the interim.
* No starter has been named for Sunday’s game, which would be Carpenter’s next game.
* TLR expressed little urgency for getting Lance Lynn a start. Lynn will get his innings, but it does not seem to be a priority for him to start a game.
* The manager also said he didn’t do anything special with his lineup against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. He noted that most players will only get one at-bat anyway.
* It appears that Matt Holliday will make the trip to Port St. Lucie tomorrow, while Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols will play in the home game.
And, finally, the playlist:
Jeff Buckley, “Eternal Life”
Garbage, “Vow”
The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”
Foo Fighters, “Monkey Wrench”
Rage Against the Machine, “Guerilla Radio”
-M.

Carpenter, Boggs injured

An already trying spring for the Cardinals took another distressing turn on Tuesday when former two pitchers were removed from the team’s Grapefruit League game against the Marlins due to injuries.
Former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter was pulled in the third inning due to a strained left hamstring, while reliever Mitchell Boggs came out an inning later with a lower back strain.
Carpenter had breezed through 2 2/3 innings with scarcely a hiccup before he walked Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan. After the final pitch of Coghlan’s plate appearance, Carpenter walked off the mound and head athletic trainer Greg Hauck came out to check on him. With virtually no delay, Carpenter headed for the dugout.
Boggs came in to replace Carpenter and received an extended warm-up time because of the injury. Boggs struck out Donnie Murphy to end the inning. Carpenter was tended to in the dugout for the remainder of the inning, then left for the Cardinals’ clubhouse with Hauck.
With one out in the fourth and an 0-2 count to John Buck, Boggs pulled up in distress, reaching for his lower back. He was also removed without throwing another pitch, replaced by left-hander Brian Tallet.
Already this spring, the Cardinals have lost co-ace Adam Wainwright to season-ending elbow injury and infielder Nick Punto for 2-3 months due to a sports hernia. Drew Baur, one of the central members of the team’s ownership group, passed away on Feb. 20.
-M.

Friday camp tidbits: A (gasp!) normal day?

Greetings from what, at the moment, appears to be a normal, relatively quiet day at camp. Here are some of the tidbits from this morning’s session with TLR. Of course, check the site as the day goes on for fleshed-out versions of most of this, as well as for a feature on Mitchell Boggs.

* Lance Berkman is getting a day off from most of the defensive drills. TLR described it as simply a maintenance day after Berkman went full-on the past two days.
* TLR said that David Freese is feeling great, but that they won’t want to push Freese. As a result, Freese will play some in the early games, but not a great deal. Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso and Ramon Vazquez will all be candidates for a start or two at third base. Tyler Greene will probably play more at shortstop than at third this spring.
* The Cardinals will try to have “coaches’ games” each of the next two days, though it may be tough tomorrow. The club has a Spring Training season-ticket-holders’ reception after tomorrow’s workout, limiting how late in the day they can go. A portion of tomorrow’s workout will take place within the stadium rather than on the practice fields.
* Shelby Miller’s opportunities to pitch in the main ‘A’ games will probably be reduced as a secondary consequence of Adam Wainwright’s injury. The new fifth-starter competition means that more pitchers will be stretched out longer, which could squeeze out some innings for Miller.
* Adam Ottavino is a little bit behind some of the other fifth-starter candidates, in part because he’s coming off of health issues and didn’t pitch at all at the end of last year. TLR said that if Ottavino is the best, the club wouldn’t hesitate to use him, but that he’s definitely starting at a disadvantage.
* Boggs is one pitcher who will NOT be considered to start, despite his past experience.
And today’s playlist…
The Beatles, “Oh! Darling”
Elvis Costello, “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror”
The White Stripes, “Ball & Biscuit”
Keith Richards, “999″
Gregg Allman, “Just Another Rider”
-M.

Wednesday Chess Match: Hawksworth or Boggs?

The situation: Top of the sixth, 0-0 game. 7-8-9 in the Marlins order coming to the plate.


The decision: TLR goes to Blake Hawksworth to pitch the sixth.

The outcome: Hawksworth has a rough outing, allowing two singles, walking the pitcher (who was trying to sacrifice), and then a sacrifice and an RBI single in the sixth, before permitting a pair of homers in the seventh.

The analysis: At this point in the game, TLR understandably wants to go to a pitcher who can get more than a batter or two, and ideally more than an inning. It’s the role that two years ago, Kyle McClellan had — get a close game from the sixth to the eighth — and it can be a very important and valuable role.
The inning started with two right-handed hitters, so the two lefties were both out, and it’s obviously not going to be Ryan Franklin or McClellan at this point in the game. That leaves three options: Hawksworth, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte.
Motte has moved up the food chain a bit, and they also like having his strikeout ability to put out fires with runners on base. So to narrow it further, it’s pretty strictly a question of Boggs vs. Hawksworth at this point.
And the thing is, if they do take the lead, there’s a good chance the other one won’t pitch. Ideally, one of the two righties gets you at least into the seventh before you hand off to the guys who get you home.
Hawksworth somewhat irritatedly dismissed the notion that he’s “struggling,” pointing to his 2.35 ERA entering the game, but he’s been much less effective in May than he was in April. Boggs, meanwhile, had been excellent over his previous 11 appearances — 11 2/3 innings, 12 Ks, 5 BB, 3 runs.
And while Hawksworth is nominally the long man on the staff, Boggs has gone 2+ innings as many times (three) as Hawksworth has this year. They were both rested and fully available, as was evidenced when Boggs pitched the final two innings.

The comment: “I’m going inning to inning. Go inning to inning and see how he’s throwing.” — La Russa

My verdict: I understand the idea that every pitcher in the bullpen needs to be able to get big outs, because at some point they’re all going to be asked to. I understand the hesitance to name Hawksworth, or any pitcher, the long man or the mopup man. 
But the results don’t lie, and Hawksworth is having a tough May while Boggs is coming on strong. Those are high-leverage innings, even though it’s the sixth, and you need to go to the guy with the best chance of keeping the tie game intact. From the two viable choices, that guy is Boggs right now.
Moreover, to at least some degree, Hawskworth is on the roster in order to pitch those long innings in ugly games. Somebody has to be that guy. Somebody has to be the pitcher that you don’t mind using for 3-4 innings in a blowout, so that the next day, when it’s a tight game, you can use someone 
As I’ve written in previous editions of this feature, they didn’t lose because of this decision. They lost because they scored two runs, and in some small part because they had to ask for four innings from the relief corps. But it’s definitely my opinion that going to Boggs in the sixth would have increased the chances of winning this game.
-M.
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