Time for a change in the St. Louis Cardinals bulpen

Posted by Scott Wuerz on April 9, 2013 

It looks like St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte is going to be out a while.

But the events of Monday prove that the Redbirds need to do something sooner rather than later about the back of their bullpen.

Mitchell Boggs did a great job last season as a setup man. But he has been absolutely atrocious in the ninth inning this season. In four appearances Covering 4 1/3 innings he has allowed Eight runs, seven of them earned. He's allowed five walks and four hits to compile an unsightly ratio of 2.08 base runners allowed per inning. He's has one save, one blown save and a loss.

Historically, he's also been awful as a closer. Boggs, before this season, had blown nine of 10 save opportunities.

It's not that he's a bad pitcher. But pitching in the ninth seems to get in some guy's heads. And there is little doubt at this point that Boggs is pressing in a major way. When he walked the lead off hitter Monday he completely unraveled. And before the dust settled he had allowed seven runs before having to be relieved by Marc Rzepczynski.

There is no easy answer because the next best candidate, hard throwing righty Trevor Rosenthal, had his own problems Monday in the eighth inning. But Rosenthal's numbers are much better with seven strikeouts and one walk allowed in five innings. He's got a 3.60 ERA. If Rosenthal has a fault, it is that he seems this season to be trying to strike out ever batter he faces while over thinking his pitch selection. Rosenthal needs to just have confidence in his exceptional stuff and deal it.

The Cardinals say that Motte will have his strained elbow elbow examined Tuesday. But, even if the result is as optimistic as possible, Motte's going to be out a while. He hasn't thrown in two weeks so it's going to take him a while to get his arm back into game shape. Maybe in the meantime it will help the shaky bullpen to return everyone else to their permanent roles with only Rosenthal pitching out of place.

Things certainly couldn't be any worse than they have been for the bullpen so far this young season.

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