He wasn't even the first choice the Cardinals wanted to take the mound on Saturday but Mitchell Boggs proved not to disappoint.
In a career best, Boggs downed the Royals as the Cardinals won 5-1 on Saturday. The young Redbird pitched six innings while giving up only one run and striking out six.
Boggs did manage to walk four batters but, that is to be expected with younger pitchers.
Mark Mulder was slated to pitch on Saturday but the team determined he was not sharp enough to start after a bullpen session on Thursday.
The University of Georgia product stepped up in a start that will most undoubtedly gain him more chances in the rotation.
Boggs agreed that he can handle himself in the bigs.
"It's not hard," Boggs said of the unusual week. "I'm in the big leagues right now, and they've showed a lot of confidence in me to keep sending me out there. I'll show up every day and do whatever they ask me to do. It doesn't matter."
The only knock against him was that Boggs started out inconsistent as he walked three of the first eight batters he faced. As the innings progressed, the spot starter settled down and started getting batters out.
In the third inning he struck out the side while only allowing a single, and in the fourth he struck out two more batters.
Boggs knew that walking batters early is a certain sign for disaster.
"I was a little erratic there in the first couple of innings," he said. "I was fortunate to get out of that unscathed. Any time you walk guys to start innings, you're playing with fire. But the guys behind me made great plays, and that allowed me to get into a little bit of rhythm."
Boggs used his knee-buckling curve-ball to oust most of his batters as well as get ahead in the count. His money pitch, the power sinker, was staying down in the strike zone and causing havoc with Royals batting.
According to Braden Looper, that is the mindset Boggs needed.
"I thought he did a better job trying to get the ball down," said Looper, who has fielded plenty of questions from the rookie as Boggs learns to pitch in the Majors.
"I think he went into the game with that mind-set. I've been talking to him a lot about that. He's got a good enough fastball that if he just has fastball command, the rest is going to be there."
The praise did not end with the Cardinals pitching staff as Boggs' presence grows in the clubhouse.
"He's nasty," said outfielder Skip Schumaker. "He really is nasty. He throws 95 mph with sink and cut, and a big curve-ball. [Adam] Wainwright told me to watch out for this guy, because he's known him for a bit. I had no idea who he was, but he said this guy's got really good stuff, watch out for him. Boggs impresses me more and more every time he steps on the mound."
Rick Ankiel provided some offensive support as he hit a two-run homer as well as Chris Duncan knocking in an RBI with a single.
The other two runs for the Cardinals came off of Royals errors. The offense may not have been stellar but it was opportunistic, taking advantage of key moments in the game.
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