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.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.