ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa nearly waited until the last minute, but he named Mitchell Boggs as the starter for Friday night's series opener with the Mets.

Boggs left Busch Stadium prior to the beginning of Thursday's game against the Brewers so he could head into New York early, rather than take the Cardinals' red-eye flight. The decision on who to start had come down to Boggs and Brad Thompson, and La Russa felt Boggs was more equipped for the job.

Thompson is 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 games for the Cardinals.

"He's started more on the road," La Russa said of Boggs. "Brad has more reliever experience. It's a better fit for [Boggs] to do the job."

Recalled from Triple-A Memphis on July 21, Boggs is in his second stint with the Cardinals this season. While he has been available out of the bullpen for long relief over the past few days, he was a starter in his first trial with the Cards.

In five starts with St. Louis, Boggs is 3-1 with a 6.59 ERA. He won three of his first four starts before the Mets roughed him up on July 3, scoring 11 runs -- 10 earned -- over six innings.

"I definitely look at it as an opportunity to prove myself," Boggs said. "Anytime you get the baseball to give your team a chance to win, it's something that's very important, and I take it very seriously."