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Lance Lynn moving back to rotation with Chris Carpenter out

Mar 12, 2012, 3:10 PM EDT

Lance Lynn Getty Images

Fortunately for the Cardinals, Chris Carpenter got hurt in early March, rather than at the end of the month.

Manager Mike Matheny made the curious decision last month to have Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan and Mitchell Boggs all prepare as relievers this spring, even though those three guys seemed to be his next best rotation options in case something happened to one of his top five. Sure enough, Carpenter went down with a neck injury, leaving the Cardinals with a decision to make. Now Lynn, who pitched a scoreless inning against the Marlins on Saturday, will transition back to the rotation.

Lynn was a starter in the minors, and he made his first two major league appearances in that role before shifting to the pen and coming up big for the Cardinals last summer and in October. He had a 2.22 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings of relief work.

With a few weeks to go before Opening Day, there’s still plenty of time for Lynn to get ready to throw five or six innings in a first-week start. That wouldn’t have been the case had Carpenter gone down on March 25 instead. So, while things have worked out okay for Matheny, one of his first decisions as Cardinals manager already looks like something of a rookie mistake.

  1. stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Looks like a great call to me. Let’s see…PRIOR to Carp having the neck issue…they had the following rotation…
    #1: Waino
    #1A/#2: Carp
    #3: Jaime
    #4: Lohse
    #5 Westbrook
    This starting rotation was just named the #2 starting rotation in MLB (with other incredibly annoying Sabermetrics figured in they were #5).
    L.L., Boggs and McClellan have all spent significant time as starters (either in the Minors OR with the Big Club). Sooooo…it looks like (from where I sit)…Matheny made the right call and it was a no-brainer. What would you have him do Matthew…name a 6 man rotation just in case something unforseen happened to Carp?

    • dwrek5 - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      This starting rotation was just named the #2 starting rotation in MLB (with other incredibly annoying Sabermetrics figured in they were #5).

      Just curious, who ranked them #2?

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        Great question Dwrek. Quick…someone help a guy out. Wasn’t in a HBT article? They were listed #2 (behind Philly). With some additinal stat’s thrown in (I seem to remember ERA and Run Support figuring in)…they were #5. To reiterate…I seem to remember it being on HBT a month or so ago.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        Found it Dwrek! It was an article from Matthew. See below.

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/02/ranking-the-rotations-2012-edition/

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        Found it Dwrek! It was indeed an HBT article and it is Matthews. http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/02/ranking-the-rotations-2012-edition/

      • Matthew Pouliot - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        Yeah, I had the Cardinals rotation with the second-best ERA projection and then ranked them fifth overall.

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/02/ranking-the-rotations-2012-edition/

    • Matthew Pouliot - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      Of course not. But they should have done what most every other team does in spring training: have their sixth starter stretched out in case he’s needed. If Carpenter had gotten hurt at the end of the spring instead of the start, it would have meant turning to Brandon Dickson or rushing Shelby Miller.

      • paperlions - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        Exactly. You can immediately put a guy that is stretched out into the bullpen….the other direction…not so much….there is no harm and potential benefit to stretching a guy out during ST.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        I hear you Matthew on the Dickson/Miller thing. Personally, I am not so sure it would be a huge rush with Shelby. My point was…they have plenty of Arms (with 3 in the pen having significant starting experience).

    • paperlions - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      Putting no thought into it whatsoever, I can think of at least 4 starting rotations that are clearly better than the Cardinals: Tampa, SF, Philly, LAA

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        Hahaha! “Putting no thought into it whatsoever.” Hahaha!

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        Paper: If you are done long stroking Matthew…please take a look at the link he provided. For some reason…I am unable to post. I found the link but Matthew was kind enough to include it. Has anyone else had any issues commenting today? I re-started my computer but it still doesn’t appear to have helped.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        Amazing Crescan. Please share your profound thougths and meandering ramblings once you have had time to review the article Matthew was kind enough to link for us. Once your slow jack is done…I anxiously await your invaluable insight.

      • paperlions - Mar 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        Funny….but what I meant was that if I had thought about it, I’m sure I can come up with other rotations that are either as good or better than the one in StL.

        In any case, a ranking of #5 is the most generous one that group of 5 should get.

    • Reflex - Mar 12, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      The top three in that rotation are all severely injury prone. Two are Inverted W pitchers. Not planning on an injury is indeed a mistake, especially considering how its easy to prep a starter to go into relief, but much more time consuming to stretch a reliever into a starter.

      • paperlions - Mar 12, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        The inverted W is a myth. Just about every pitcher that throws over the top will have an inverted W at some point in his delivery.

      • Reflex - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        There are lots who do not, actually. Furthermore, even if what you said was true, you’d be dodging the real point since obviously it would be more pronounced in some than others. Right now there is a *strong* corrolation between the Inverted W and certain types of injury, and while corrolation is not causation, its been interesting watching certain pitching mechanics guys call injuries a year or two before they happen, then watching them point out who will be healthy and also having that come true.

        I do believe more research is needed. But I also do not believe that injuries are simply a matter of genetic lottery. RSI is real in just about every other field, even non-strenuous ones, why would a field where someone is pushing their body beyond its design limits be any different? And why wouldn’t it be possible to make ergonomic changes to the approach to limit those injuries?

  2. sportsdrenched.com - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Not sure I understand why it was a mistake either. You have relievers do refief work..until you need them to do something else. It’s not like the Royals where you’re trying to get more looks at the back end starters.

  3. stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Why are my posts not appearing? I have attempted to respond with a link to the starting rotations article I was referring to but it will NOT allow me to do so.

  4. stlouis1baseball - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/02/ranking-the-rotations-2012-edition/

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