When Lynning Means Winning

Perhaps Lance Lynn is a positive example of observer effect.

It seems so often that once something becomes widely known, enough that people are looking for it, it changes or disappears.  How often has ESPN or a major network cut into their programming to show a no-hitter, only to see it lost within the first couple of batters?  How often does a dominant history against a team go up in smoke right as people begin to discuss it?

In the now-three starts since we began researching The Lynning, Lynn has had three straight games of two runs or less, which by necessity (since the criteria was three runs or more) means he’s avoided the big inning we spent so long talking about over that span.  While the last two games were nice enough, this one was the most impressive.

For Lynn to get past the sixth in a start is a nice accomplishment, but to throw a complete game shutout?  That’s outstanding.  He ran up a bit of a high pitch count, which we’ll have to see if there are lingering issues from, but he did a great job all around.  He had a couple of innings where you wondered if the matches he was playing with would ignite, but they never did.

Getting the complete game was huge on a day after the bullpen was used so much in a 12-inning affair.  It should mean everyone is ready to go tonight, which could be important depending on which Shelby Miller shows up.  All in all, there’s no doubt Lance Lynn is our Hero for the evening.

Though, to be fair, if he hadn’t gone the route, it’s possible Matt Holliday would have overtaken him for the honors.  Holliday went 3-3 with two runs scored and a home run that made up the final margin.  That’s his second three-hit night in the last four games and his average has risen 21 points in that span.  Good to see him finally get a home run, since it’d been over a month since he’d had one.  He’s going to have to pick up the pace if he wants another year of 20 bombs.

Matt Adams also had three hits, including a ground-rule double, and he both drove in and scored a run in the big fourth inning.  (Usually, when you say big fourth inning in a Lynn start, it’s not a good thing.  Nice to have the change this time around.)  A couple of hits also by Allen Craig, who also hit one out of the park, though it was almost brought back in by Alfonso Soriano.  It tipped off Soriano’s glove, otherwise we’d have seen two Cardinal homers robbed in as many days, something that the least powerful team in the NL doesn’t need to see.

There were two 0-4s last night, which is where we start the discussion of Goats.  Kolten Wong had that number in the second spot, which was a shame given Holliday’s production.  However, he had some incredibly good defense to mitigate his offensive woes and, as such, won’t be getting tagged today.

That leaves Jon Jay.  Jay’s start produced the usual angst in the usual quarters and I did think we were beyond Mike Matheny starting Jay on a regular basis.  Apparently we aren’t, which is going to get those “if Peter Bourjos isn’t going to play, why is Oscar Taveras not up here” thoughts going again.  I’d hope that this was just a little break for Bourjos and we’ll see him out there tonight and going forward, but you never know what the manager is thinking in these situations.

Anyway, Jay didn’t make a strong case for him staying in the starting lineup, going 0-4, leaving three men on, and even though I missed seeing it, Twitter indicated that at least one of the Yankee doubles hit in his direction could have been caught by a more competent center fielder.  Twitter says a lot of things, of course, but it seems reasonable enough to me.

The last guy to throw a shutout for the Cardinals–all the way back in the middle of last week, since his last start was a paltry eight scoreless–got some recognition yesterday as Adam Wainwright was named co-NL Player of the Week.  He’d have probably had it all to himself, but when a guy throws a no-hitter, he’s going to horn in on the action.

Shelby Miller tries to bring yet another series win home for the Redbirds tonight.  (I hate to tempt observer effect, but the Cards haven’t lost a series since that series in Pittsburgh since they came home for this long mainly-homestand.)  He’ll need to be better than he was last time out, but Miller could easily tap into his potential and give us an outstanding outing.

Brian McCann 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Alfonso Soriano 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/28/2014.

Unsurprisingly, not a whole lot of history between Miller and any of the Yankee hitters.  He’d have faced Soriano more if the Yankee outfielder hadn’t been traded from the Cubs last season, I guess, but that’s the way it is.  So if unfamiliarity worked for Lynn, maybe it can work for Miller too.

That won’t be the case with the New York hurler.  Hiroki Kuroda has spent most of his career in the National League, so he’s not as much of a cipher.

Matt Holliday 27 26 11 3 0 1 7 1 2 .423 .444 .654 1.098 0 0 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 11 11 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .182 .182 .182 .364 0 0 0 0 1
Jhonny Peralta 9 9 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 .222 .222 .333 .556 0 0 0 0 0
Peter Bourjos 7 7 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 .286 .286 .429 .714 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .143 .000 .143 0 0 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 5 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .250 .200 .250 .450 0 1 0 0 0
Mark Ellis 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 76 73 18 5 0 1 9 2 14 .247 .263 .356 .619 0 1 0 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/28/2014.

Holliday is probably looking forward to this evening, but he’s about the only one.  With Bourjos having better numbers than Jay, there should be no reason to see him not in the starting lineup tonight.  If Jay is in there, I give up.  Hopefully we won’t have to worry about that and can send Derek Jeter (because, as you know, everything has to come back to him) out of here with a series loss!

  • mrlyngreen May 28, 2014, 7:11 am

    I was so happy to see Lynn complete a game and get a shutout. Now if only he can do it with more strikeouts and less walks, I would be a completely happy woman.

    As for the Jay/Bourjos thing, it is what I have said all along. Matheny prefers “his guy” Jay, and every time he sees a window to justify playing him, he will take it. This isn’t going to stop unless Mozeliak takes steps to stop it, and I haven’t seen any indications that he is going to. What will end up happening, because we have already seen it, is that streaky hitter Jay will go on a cold streak (it already happened in April when his BA dropped 60 pts in 10 games) and then rusty Bourjos will be called upon, and we will end up with TWO CFers from whom we get no production for a time. Bourjos will eventually hit, but Matheny will put a stop to that after a few weeks and start playing Jay again, and we will start the cycle all over again. Anyone who knows anything about Peter Bourjos knows that he doesn’t perform well in a part time role, which the Angels found out in 2012 when they relegated him to that role. They attempted to correct their mistake in 2013, and were rewarded for a time, until Bourjos was injured and missed most of the rest of the season. Now we have the Cardinals making the same mistake. All that needs to be done is put Bourjos in there to play everyday (and do it for more than 3 weeks at a time) and let Jay hit off the bench (he performs better that way anyway) and start once a week when Bourjos needs a day off. THAT is the correct way to use both of them. It won’t happen.

  • Buddhasillegitimatechild38 May 28, 2014, 8:01 am

    Lynn’s April 13th start (I think it was April 13th) was better but he was pulled after 7 with 100 pitches instead of left in. Still it was great to see him get the CGSO and good to see Holliday and Craig hitting

  • Buddhasillegitimatechild38 May 28, 2014, 8:06 am

    Also as far as the Jay/Bourjos thing, Jay is a good, starting caliber player, Bourjos has been slightly better when healthy and has more upside. Because of his splits we should always see Bourjos against lefties and they should probably split time vs righties. Though whether its all Jay, all Bourjos or a split that likely would slightly favor one or the other vs righties (I would think a split that slightly favors Bourjos would be best) we should be happy with the playing time. I didn’t like Bourjos getting buried any more than anyone else but now that he is getting playing time we are making a huge deal about how starting level players are splitting time.

    • mrlyngreen May 28, 2014, 8:13 am

      I disagree about Jay being a starting caliber player. He is a 4th OFer.

      • Buddhasillegitimatechild38 May 28, 2014, 12:42 pm

        He was worth 2 WAR last year with a down hitting season and a horrendous UZR when through his career his hit slightly better than last year and been an average fielder in CF in his career. He was worth 4 WAR the year before and 2.5 WAR in 2011. Even if you ignore 2011 and 2012 , which would be silly, Jay is at least a 2 WAR player. An avg starter in the MLB is worth 2-2.5 WAR/year. Jay is a starting caliber player. We just are blessed with 3 better outfielders on our roster (assuming Craig returns to normal or OT is the 3-6 WAR playerhe looks to be)

        • mrlyngreen May 28, 2014, 2:21 pm

          I don’t deny that that is a legitimate argument, but most of that WAR is offense. I am of the opinion (and I certainly find myself in the minority on this one) that CF is primarily a defensive position. So when I think of “starter caliber” in CF I don’t think of average defense with a weak throwing arm, which certainly describes Jay. I believe you get your outfield offense from the corners, and your defense from CF, but that is just me. Also, his offense tends to be streaky and BABIP driven for the most part (which if he can sustain it is fine, but he makes me nervous at the plate)

          I realize that we haven’t had the type of defense that I consider starter caliber really since Jim Edmonds (Colby Rasmus had the potential to be decent, but there was too much baggage attached). My standards are higher than most people’s in this age of offense dominant thinking. I guess you could call me an old school relic :).

          • Cardinal70 May 28, 2014, 2:48 pm

            If Jim Edmonds, who would have an argument for being one of the best defensive center fielders of all time, much less our time, is your standard for “starter caliber”, I’m thinking it’s going to be a rare bird that lives up to that label!

          • mrlyngreen May 28, 2014, 4:35 pm

            I didn’t mean to imply that he was the standard, only that the last really good defensive CFer we had before Bourjos was Edmonds. I just think Jon Jay’s defense doesn’t measure up. I understand where others disagree, but Jay is not starting caliber to me. He is a 4th OFer.

          • Buddhasillegitimatechild38 May 28, 2014, 4:04 pm

            Jim Edmonds is a borderline HOFer and actually drew much more of his value from offense, not defense. The standards should be lowered for a starting player and yes CF is more defense centric vs the offense centric COF, that doesn’t mean you’re old school, thats just how the defensive spectrum works. That still means an average fielding CF, noodle arm and all, with a good offensive ability is a starting caliber player.

  • Andrew Freeman May 28, 2014, 11:02 am

    I think letting Lynn go the distance could do wonders for his confidence in later games. It definitely wasn’t the best outing, but it did gave him a confidence boost as our third starter.

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