Although he did have an excellent first full season in the bigs, history is not likely going to be repeated in 2013 for Lance Lynn.
The St. Louis Cardinals wouldn’t want it any other way either. While Lynn no doubt made a big splash on the team’s run to the postseason in 2012, he faltered when it counted most, with a 4.32/1.44 ERA/WHIP over 73 innings after the All-Star break compared to the 3.41/1.23 he’d put up prior.
Simply put, he’d run out of gas. It only got worse in the playoffs, as he’d allowed 11 runs (seven earned) in 11 innings of work, failing to get out of the fourth inning in each of his last two appearances.
In 2013, however, the righty is poised to correct that wrong; if anything, you could maybe even say that he’s done the reverse and is saving his best for the stretch run.
At least, that’s what his last few outings will tell you after he’d gone into the break on a bit of a slump through June and into the All-Star break, carrying a 4.00/1.26 ERA/WHIP and .244 BAA that really belies how good he was in the first two months (not that the Cards expected any less).
Since the Midsummer Classic, however, Lynn had shown that the slip-up in form was just that.
Though his first game back wasn’t anything to writer home about (five innings, four runs on six hits), he’s since reeled off three straight gems, culminating in Sunday’s eight-inning dominance over the divisional rival Cincinnati Reds. Allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, it was arguably the 26-year-old’s best start in the year full of good outings not just because he struck out 11 (a season-high), but because he went eight innings.
It was just the first time this year that Lynn had pitched his deep into a game, and the significance of his ability to maintain his performance through the 115-pitch inning should not be understated.
It’s the clearest indication he’s shown the Cards that there’s plenty of tank left in the gas this time around, and that the team may be getting the best Lance Lynn to come down the stretch and (presumably) in the postseason — when he’ll be most needed.