When the Cardinals bumped Ryan Franklin from the closer role last month they turned to Mitchell Boggs as his replacement and the 27-year-old right-hander responded by converting his first three save chances.
Boggs blew his fourth save chance on April 26 and hasn’t been given another ninth-inning lead since. And today the Cardinals demoted him to Triple-A.
Boggs has struggled of late, allowing five runs in his last six appearances, but his overall numbers are just fine with a 3.66 ERA, .233 opponents’ batting average, and 19/4 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He also has a track record of success with a 3.61 ERA in 67 innings as a setup man last season.
All of which makes it very odd that the Cardinals thought enough of Boggs to make him the fill-in closer three weeks ago and now don’t even think he’s worth keeping in the majors. One bad week apparently trumps the 3.50 ERA he posted in his first 95 innings as a reliever.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.