Mitchell Boggs goes from closer to Triple-A in three weeks

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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.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.