St. Louis Cardinals 4 vs. Cincinnati Reds 2: Mitchell Boggs, closer semantics

To all baseball teams currently using the "It's Complicated" relationship status on Facebook: If you bring in a pitcher with runners on in the eighth inning to face the top of a team's batting order, and then double-switch one of your best hitters out so that he can stay on to pitch the ninth, he's probably your closer. If you trust him to pitch to Joey Votto with the game on the line despite the fact that he's shown no special ability to retire rampaging left-handers, likewise. 

Mitchell Boggs has some significant flaws. His fastball might be better than Motte's in terms of its movement, but he can't locate it as well, and given how spotty his slider command can be he'll always be vulnerable against left-handed hitters—like Joey Votto, who took Matt Holliday to the warning track after seeing eight fastballs between 94 and 98 on the radar gun.

But of an imperfect group of relievers, Boggs inspires the least worry and is most likely to improve on the performance we've seen to date. Tony La Russa is likely to pretend it's a bullpen-by-committee far longer than it really is, and given the tenuous situation in the bullpen that's probably for the best; but right now it looks like Boggs is the guy, and I'm fine with that.

And speaking of Tony La Russa, he deserves some unironic-The-Genius credit for recognizing that the game was about to be called and going with Miguel Batista to spare an already-undermanned rotation. He brought in Eduardo Sanchez in a high-pressure game and it paid off, and he pitched to Joey Votto, which was, I think, something of a departure from manager orthodoxy. 

The Cardinals led throughout, got out of some tough situations, and won with Albert Pujols's offensive help. That's a game worth staying up for. Of course, I'm saying this having not just spent five hours in a soggy Busch Stadium. 

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