July 3, 2008

Mets roll over Cards and out of St. Louis with series split

The rookie pitcher, Mitchell Boggs, no longer has the pressure of carrying a perfect record. Lately, the Cardinals' starters have had their turns (except for Lohse) at having "one of those games." Tonight was Boggs' turn.

The Mets got to Boggs early, scoring three in the first inning, then another six runs in the third. The game was getting out of hand at 5-0, but really got away from Boggs and the Cards when Jose Reyes tripled over the head of Rick Ankiel. Manager Tony La Russa made a trip to the mound, but already, the strategy was obvious: Boggs would have to go as far as he could with no relief, as there was no need to burn up the bullpen on a game so far out of reach.

Such a strategy forced the young pitcher to gut it out, to take one for the team. To the new baseball fan, leaving the rookie out on the hill like that seems unfair, cruel, even, but one must understand that the team wouldn't want to use up a lot of relievers, only to become severely limited for the weekend series versus the Chicago Cubs.

At the end of the third inning, the Mets held their 9-0 lead. And into the fourth went Boggs, getting strikeout and a couple ground outs for a one-two-three inning, probably wondering why it couldn't have been that easy in the previous innings. Continuing his odyssey, he struggled through the fifth, then suffered a bit more in the sixth when Carlos Delgado blasted a two-run shot out in field, making it 11-0.

The Cardinals would ruin the shutout in the sixth, finally scoring off of Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey, Adam Kennedy scoring on a Chris Duncan ground out.

Boggs' turn at a terrible night ended when reliever Ron Villone took over to start the seventh.

Scott Schoeneweis then took over for Pelfrey to start the eighth. The Cards left the bases loaded.
Jason Isringhausen took a turn on the mound, not having pitched since last Sunday. Pitching to contact, Isringhausen was able to set down the Mets in order, the bullpen now able to have full availability if the Cardinals couldn't win.

Shoeneweis shut down the Cardinals in the ninth, and the Mets secured a series split, 2-2, with the 11-1 victory. Mike Pelfrey improved to 6-6 with the win while Boggs took a hard first loss, his perfect record tarnished to 3-1.

Boggs stated afterward that any time you go out on the field and put your teammates in the hole the way he did, you're going to get beat.

When asked about having to remain on the hill for the six innings he pitched, Boggs said: "It was good for me to stay out there, take my lumps, and get better."

photo by Alan Penner