Did the St. Louis Cardinals ever need this pitching performance from Lance Lynn.
Lynn scored an impressive shutout in his team’s 8-0 blanking of the Colorado Rockies, but that is only half the story from Monday’s game.
Just when it looked like the Cardinals were about to turn a corner, the injury bug struck and reared its ugly head to two members of the pitching staff. Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia both went down with shoulder injuries and were placed on the 15-day disabled list, dealing a big blow to the strongest part of the team.
For Garcia this is nothing new. After a promising start, shoulder problems have derailed this promising pitcher’s career. Wacha, one of the heroes of the 2013 postseason, is a newcomer to the injury bug, and his loss will be huge. Combine that with the big scare the Cardinals got when Adam Wainwright had elbow discomfort and it’s easy to see why the team gasps every time one of its pitchers feels a tweak or twinge.
This is why Lynn’s strong performance (eight innings, no runs, seven strikeouts) was most welcome. It gave the relievers a break and the Cardinals had a chance to flex some bats.
Let’s face it. The Cardinals can withstand the loss of one or two bats because the pitching staff has been so strong, but if one or two pitchers head to the disabled list for an extended period you might as well kiss the Milwaukee Brewers goodbye as they speed off to the National League Central championship.
Since May 27, Lynn has split his six decisions down the middle. Three wins and three losses isn’t exactly what the Cardinals were looking for, but with Wainwright, Lynn and Shelby Miller among the healthy starters in the rotation, the team needs all the help it can get.
It’s too soon to tell what the Cardinals will do at the trade deadline. The wisdom suggests the team goes after relief help and maybe a bat or two, but now it might have to acquire a rental pitcher at the deadline and hope he can get the team some work.
Who do the Cardinals go after? Do they take a flyer on a pitcher like Jason Hammel or break the bank a bit more for a pitcher like David Price? Or do they stand pat and hope the rotation gets healthy again?
Whatever the outcome, these injuries will hurt the team in the short term. The Cardinals need pitchers like Lynn to stay healthy and just win. Anything else will be a disappointment.
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