Cheap Seats

Boggs' latest lousy performance will be difficult to forget

Usually I'd be thrilled about the Cardinals taking three of four games in a home and away series.

But not when the Redbirds dominated the Royals for eight innings Thursday only to allow reliever Mitchell Boggs to come in and instantly erase three hours worth of effort. St. Louis was minutes away from a sweep and from gaining a game on the Cincinnati Reds before Boggs came in and handed the Royals their first win in their last nine games.

Michael Wacha, a guy who had never stood on a major league mound before, held Kansas City to two hits and one run over seven innings before another rookie, Seth Maness, tossed a scoreless eighth inning.

Then in came Boggs, sporting an ERA above 10.00 and a reputation for being ninth inning poison to to the moans and groans of a large crowd that sat through an hour-long rain delay before the game could even start.

And, like a perfectly scripted nightmare, Boggs allowed a game-tying homer to the first batter he faced, Jeff Francouer. That's quite a feat when Kansas City hadn't had a regular hit a home run in more than two weeks and Francouer, whom many Royals fans demand on a regular basis be released, had only one homer in the previous two months of the season.

I can't imagine how the Cardinals can continue their relationship with Boggs past this point.

There are few players St. Louis fans have booed off the field in this franchise's long history. And Boggs was one of them when he left the Thursday game without recording an out. Nothing the team has done -- from keeping Boggs out of high pressure situations to sending him to the minors to work out the kinks -- has helped.

In his last 10 appearances, Boggs has pitched 14 2/3 innings and allowed 20 runs on 21 hits and 15 walks. He's surrendered three homers in that span to raise his season ERA to 11.05.

No matter what Boggs does right, from this point he is always going to be one bad pitch away from a meltdown. His only hope is that a change of scenery does him good. And the Cardinals must find some capable righthanded relief to go along with Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica who were both unavailable because of overuse.