Command issues sink Lynn against Rockies
Right-hander allows four runs, fans five over five-plus innings Saturday
ST. LOUIS -- Lance Lynn sailed through the heart of the Rockies' order in the fifth inning, appearing to find a rhythm, which prompted manager Mike Matheny to issue a vote of confidence in his starting pitcher.
When the dust settled on a 6-2 loss to the Rockies at Busch Stadium on Saturday night, Matheny was left wondering about how a different decision may have altered the outcome of the game.
With runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the fifth, Lynn's spot in the order came up. St. Louis trailed 3-1 and reliever Seth Maness was loose in the bullpen, ready to enter for the sixth if Matheny elected to insert a pinch-hitter.
Instead, with the Cardinals hoping to give four relievers -- Maness included -- a night off, Matheny let Lynn bat and return to the mound for the sixth inning. But Lynn could not get a bunt down and Matt Carpenter followed by flying out to end the inning.
Further muddying the decision, Rockies first baseman Ben Paulsen belted Lynn's first pitch of the sixth over the wall in center field, and Lynn left without recording an out in the frame.
"Really, what goes into that more than anything is the status of our pitching staff," Matheny said. "It's the fifth [inning] and there's a couple of [relievers] we're trying to stay away from [using], and without going multiple innings for a couple of the other guys, we need Lance to go back out there."
Longevity has not been a problem for Lynn, who had thrown six or more innings in 15 of his 19 starts entering Saturday night. Matheny said the hard-throwing righty simply struggled to find a repeatable delivery against Colorado.
"Whenever you're throwing a lot of balls and are behind in the count, that's easy to say," Lynn said. "The command wasn't there and you could tell by the couple of homers I gave up that it was due to bad command."
Lynn said he felt good coming out to pitch the sixth, but his command struggles from earlier in the game returned.
"I think I have it until I'm done, but tonight just wasn't my night," Lynn said. "I had some chances to not have the night I did, to right the ship. Usually I do, and tonight I didn't, so I'm not happy about it."