Found October 24, 2011 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
St. Louis Cardinals
Arlington, Texas Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs was well aware of what Rangers catcher Mike Napoli can do to a high fastball. He got another rude reminder Sunday night.
With the Cardinals down 1-0, Boggs was summoned to replace starter Edwin Jackson with runners at first and second and one out in the sixth inning. Boggs missed badly with the intended location of his first pitch and paid the price.
Napoli turned on a high fastball and sent it deep into the seats in left for a three-run homer that turned a one-run game into a comfortable 4-0 Texas lead.
"I wanted to go down and in because I wanted to get a ground ball," Boggs said. "With my sinker, I feel like I can get a ground ball from anybody, but I just left it up and I think he was looking for it. He sold out, and he got it. You tip your cap to him. I just feel bad for Edwin because he gutted it out and was great all night."
Jackson worked around seven walks and had allowed just one run in 5 13 innings when he departed with two runners on base. But both those runs were charged to him when Napoli greeted Boggs with an unexpected hello on his first offering.
Boggs hoped to get Napoli to roll over a sinker down in the zone and get a double play to end the inning. But insteadhe threw the pitch to the one spot he knew not to throw it.
"He got a pitch he was looking for," Boggs said. "I've got to keep the ball down on a guy like that. He's shown that he can do damage at the top of the zone all year. That's not a fluke. He didn't just run into one. He knows what he's doing. I just have to make a better pitch right there. That's what's disappointing.
"I wanted it to be down in the bottom of the zone, without question. I certainly missed where I wanted to throw the ball. It was a mistake. I'll take the blame for it. I'll stand up to it. I didn't make a good enough pitch."
Said Napoli: "I know Boggs has a good sinker. In that situation, he's probably trying to get a double-play ball. I was looking for something up and kind of had an idea they were probably going to try and pound me in and I just got a pitch that I could handle."
Boggs got Mitch Moreland on a comebacker to the mound and struck out Ian Kinsler to finish the sixth. He allowed a leadoff double to Elvis Andrus to start the seventh but retired Josh Hamilton on a liner to center and struck out both Michael Young and Adrian Beltre to end the inning.
The right-hander looked sharp and had good movement in retiring the heart of the dangerous Texas lineup. But unfortunately for him, the only pitch talked about afterward was the missed fastball to Napoli.
"It was a big situation for me to come into and I was ready for it," Boggs said. "I had all the confidence in the world that I was going to come in right there and make good pitches. He jumped on the first pitch and hit a ball out of the park. After that I felt like I threw the ball well.
"I felt my stuff was good enough that I could come in that situation and get us out of it. I think it showed the rest of the outing that my stuff was pretty good tonight. I just made a mistake and he got it."
It's been a strange season for Boggs, who temporarily replaced Ryan Franklin as the club's closer before being removed from the post after just one blown save. Boggs didn't get another save opportunity the rest of the season.
The right-hander was even demoted to Triple-A for about a month where he was inserted into the starting rotation to work on his pitches.
In 51 regular season games with the Cardinals, Boggs compiled a respectable 3.56 ERA in 51 games. He has rarely pitched in September and has been used scarcely in the playoffs, apparently having fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.
But with Lance Lynn and Fernando Salas unavailable Sunday night, it was Boggs who earned the shot to put out the fire. And thanks to a high fastball, it didn't turn out well.
"My job right there was to come in and leave those guys on base and give our team a chance to win the game, and I wasn't able to get it done," Boggs said. "I'll show up tomorrow and I'll be ready for any situation, and I know all these guys will do the same.
"I show up every day prepared to pitch. I don't read into what's going on, who's pitching, whatever. I show up every day ready to pitch. I showed up today ready to pitch and a guy jumped all over the first pitch. That's how it goes. It's disappointing."
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