Surely, the homer Mitchell Boggs gave up to Jeff Francoeur wasn’t the only reason he was demoted to Triple-A Memphis by the Cardinals on Friday.
It was mostly that, though.
Boggs, who opened the season as the Cardinals’ closer, was optioned to the minors for the second time this year after taking a blown save and a loss to the struggling Royals on Thursday night. It was the third time in four appearances since his return from Triple-A that he gave up a run.
Mike Matheny made the choice to go to Boggs in a 2-1 game in the ninth last night with Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal worn out and needing a rest, and Boggs gave up the game-tying homer to Francoeur on his second pitch of the evening. It was only Francoeur’s second homer in 153 at-bats this season.
Boggs went on to walk the next batter he faced and was pulled afterwards. The runner later came around to score off Victor Marte. The outing took his ERA to 11.05 for the season. He’s allowed 20 runs — 18 earned — and walked 15 batters in 14 2/3 innings.
Boggs also allowed exactly 20 runs last year, 18 of which were earned. He threw 73 1/3 innings then and finished with a 2.21 ERA.
Reliever Keith Butler was called up to replace Boggs on the roster.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.
There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.
Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.
Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.
With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.
Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.