The St. Louis Cardinals seem reluctant to name Mitchell Boggs as their closer pro tempore, but if you believe that pitcher usage speaks louder than words it seems like they have already. After giving him the first save of his career earlier in the week, Friday saw Tony La Russa bring Boggs into the eighth inning of the Cardinals' important game with the Cincinnati Reds with runners on base and the lead on the line.
That's something you might do with a set-up pitcher. But double-switching Colby Rasmus out of the game at the same time, so that Boggs could stay on and pitch the ninth inning, is not. After Boggs escaped from the eighth he was permitted to go right after Joey Votto, only the reigning MVP, and managed, just barely, to get out of it.
That's one more save for the Cardinals' common-law closer, and an implicit vote of confidence from a manager who's likely to stretch out the closer-naming process as long as he possibly can. He might not call Boggs a closer, but he's using him like he thinks he's one. And with that fastball it's hard to blame him.