ST. LOUIS -- The ninth-inning runs meant nothing to an outcome that would have needed an offensive explosion to change. But for Mitchell Boggs, the inability to pitch a clean inning on Sunday only piled more frustration on a reliever who is desperately seeking a morsel of positive reinforcement.
Visibly irritated with his latest outing, Boggs stood at his locker after the game to field what must now seem like never-ending questions about his attempt to regain his confidence.
"It's not easy," Boggs said of a month in which he has posted a 12.66 ERA. "I'm obviously not ecstatic about how it's going. It's hard to be positive, but you have to do everything you can to fight every single day. If anybody can't see that, they're crazy.
"I certainly don't think I'm at a disadvantage. I certainly don't think when I go out there that guys are fighting to get to the bat rack because there's a guy out there that's terrible. I don't feel that way. It helps to know that [manager Mike Matheny] is behind me and that these guys are behind me. And I'm going to keep fighting. That's all I can do. I've said it time and time again, and I'll keep saying it."
Having already lost the closer's job and a hold on a setup role, Boggs entered with the Cardinals trailing by four in the ninth on Sunday. The inning started with a bloop single to right and a broken-bat hit to left. After striking out Jose Tabata and pitching around Garrett Jones, a slow grounder scored the first run.
Marc Rzepczynski relieved Boggs from there and allowed both inherited runners to score.
"He was throwing better today," Matheny said of Boggs. "It was one of those days that probably wasn't reflective of his stuff going in a better direction. You just have to keep fighting."
Finding progress amid poor results, though, is much easier said than done for Boggs, who labeled this tumultuous month as the toughest challenge he's ever faced in his athletic career.
"It's hard to, especially 30 minutes after it happens, it's hard," Boggs said when asked if he could point to any positives. "You want results. That's what this game is all about. And the results that I'm getting right now aren't what I want them to be. But I have to continue to show up every single day and do the things that I've been doing. It's going to turn. I don't care what anybody says. I can go out there and compete with anybody. It's going to happen."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.