There was a saying about Bob Gibson. I’m not sure who said it first, I’m thinking Tim McCarver during his playing days, but I could easily be wrong. The saying went something like this:
“Gibson is the luckiest man on earth. He always pitches on the days the other team doesn’t get any runs.”
Obviously, this was a subtle way of pointing out the greatest of Gibby. He had a little something to do with the other team not scoring, after all.
So perhaps the flip side of that saying might point out that all Cardinal pitchers might want to take a page out of Lance Lynn‘s book. After all, he’s just as “lucky” as Gibson was, right?
“Lynn is the luckiest man on earth. He always pitches on the days his team scores a ton of runs.”
Obviously, I’m not really saying that Lynn has anything to do with the run support that he gets, save in the occasional at-bats that he gets. In fact, you’d almost think the opposite. When a team knows that it’s going to have to score in bunches for a pitcher, it tends to try too hard, press a little bit. When they are relaxed, figuring a couple of runs will do it, that seems to be when the deluge comes.
Yet in the 2012 season, Lynn ranked first among qualified pitchers in all of MLB with 5.90 runs per start. Last year, he was seventh in MLB and first in the National League with 5.15 runs per start. This year, even with the small sample skewing sizes, he’s seventh in MLB and fifth in the NL. Once is luck, twice is coincidence, three times…..well, three times starts to be a pattern.
There should be absolutely no connection though! Why is it that they score for Lynn and not for other pitchers? I mean, some of Lynn’s rank is because the Cardinal offense is prolific–Shelby Miller ranked 14th last year in MLB in run support, Adam Wainwright 21st–but not all of it, otherwise those pitchers would be much closer to Lynn in the rankings.
Whatever the case, Lynn should be very appreciative. Take a look at runs allowed by the starters so far this season.
0, 0, 3, 5, 1, 2, 0, 5
Save for Miller’s problems against the Pirates, the Lynn games are easy to pick out. It’s somewhat said that Michael Wacha got a no-decision and Wainwright a loss giving up fewer runs in two games than Lynn has in any one of his.
Anyway, let’s talk about last night’s game in specific. Lynn, as he did last week against the Reds, gave up three in the first. Unlike last week, he gave up another in the second and things didn’t look so hot. Thankfully, the Cards remembered how to hit Homer Bailey and quickly erased that gap, finally taking the lead on a long drive by Matt Holliday that turned Jay Bruce into Nelson Cruz.
It’s a good thing Holliday had that key hit, because the rest of the night was Goat-like. Bailey made him look bad a couple of times, but that got pretty much washed away with that two-run double off of Bruce’s glove.
When you are looking for a Hero, it’s often a good idea to start with Yadier Molina and that’s where we’re going today as well. Three hits, including a home run that started the scoring. Yadi’s already got three long balls on the year, which may mean a return to 2012 power levels if this keeps up.
Major kudos to Peter Bourjos as well. Gorgeous Bourjos, as someone calls him, had three hits, drove in a run, and scored two. We’ve already seen his defense, but if he can work his way up to even a league-average hitter, this lineup gets even more productive. Which Lynn is probably quite grateful for.
Big night for Kolten Wong as well, who had two hits including a sharp double that tied the game in the second. Wong also played some good defense in the field and is showing that those early spring training worries were really unfounded. Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter also had two hits and Adams made a fine snag on a foul ball that just about had him landing on his head in the dugout. Seriously, it was impressive that Adams could keep his balance enough on the rail to give his teammates time to come push him back on the field. Big Fill In The Blank was Big Puma last night.
Trevor Rosenthal raised concerns by giving up a leadoff single, given how yesterday’s game ended, but he shut those concerns and the Reds down quickly, striking out two of the next three batters. Looks like Monday was a temporary blip, though given the number of pitches, he might be off limits today. Then again, tomorrow’s an off-day…..
If you don’t want to give the Goat to Lynn, and while he’s probably worthy of it, I’m not given the fact that, after the first, he did settle in for the most part, you have to look at Allen Craig. 0-5, two strikeouts, six left on base. Right now, the 2013 version of The Wrench is a distant memory. Craig will likely get on track–again, we remember how much concern we had over Wong’s first few spring games–but it’s rough to watch it right now. Even when he gets a solid swing on the ball, he is robbed and, to add insult to injury, it’s turned into a double play. One of these days, he’ll get a couple of hits and the momentum will start. Just hope it’s pretty soon.
I’m not one to give advice to the opposition, nor am I typically one to think about the opposition at all in general terms, but the Reds have got to either talk with Brandon Phillips or move him out of the second spot in the order. Billy Hamilton hasn’t been on first much this season, what with his .091 average, but the couple of times he’s had a chance to steal second against the Cards, both in this series and at the end of the last one, Phillips is up there hacking, not allowing Hamilton to steal the bag. Given that, at least right now, Hamilton singling could be the same things as Hamilton doubling, why not take a few pitches? Yet Phillips seems to foul off balls when Hamilton is going or, as he did last night, pop out on the first pitch. Now, granted, Hamilton hasn’t been able to reach very often, but the Reds aren’t going to be able to use his speed if Phillips can’t control his bat.
Last game against the Reds for about six weeks, which is nice. Not that I have anything against the Reds, but let’s see some different colors and teams on the field. It’s the first new pitching matchup of the series as Miller goes for the Cardinals. Miller struggled against the Pirates last time out, so we’ll have to see if it was more they have his number (given last year’s results) or something to be concerned about.
The Reds haven’t seen Miller all that much, but they’ve not done much against him when they have. Phillips and Todd Frazier look like guys to pay attention too, but again that’s a pretty small sample size.
Cardinals get to see Mike Leake take the hill for the Cincinnati club. Leake gave up four runs in just under seven innings against the Mets in his season debut. St. Louis has seen him a few times and the results weren’t half-bad.
Holliday’s carried the bulk of the load, though Molina also has a homer against him. Perhaps Miller can learn Lynn’s skill in time for tonight and get plenty of run support to ease the load.
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