Lynn to start Game 4; Miller remains in bullpen
ST. LOUIS -- Pitching in relief, Lance Lynn picked up the Game 1 win in the Cardinals' 3-2, 13-inning victory over the Dodgers on Friday. On Tuesday, he'll take the mound at Dodger Stadium with a chance to also win Game 4 of the National League Championship Series (7 p.m. CT on TBS).
Manager Mike Matheny officially named Lynn the team's fourth starter on Saturday, which, in turn, also solidifies Shelby Miller's role as a postseason reliever. The decision, Matheny said, was made after considering several factors, including matchups, recent work, how comparable pitchers fared against L.A. and how each right-hander finished the season.
The latter carried particular weight.
"I think it's a young player, for the first time in his life, going through a complete Major League season," Matheny said, discarding the notion that Miller is fatigued while still acknowledging that he is in unknown territory. "That affects everybody. Your body is just getting used to it. It's a demand. I didn't see the fatigue, but also realized that we were asking him to do something he had never done before."
Of some concern with this decision, though, is how Miller reacts to it. A 15-game winner during the regular season, Miller has said all the right things about the move to the bullpen. It is not, though, the role that he would prefer.
Matheny and Miller have had several conversations this month during which Matheny has reminded Miller how highly the organization still thinks of him.
"I see him as a frontline starter," Matheny said. "He can be a top-of-your-rotation starter. But right now, we're just trying to take all the information with it being his first full long season with kind of how he pitched compared to the other guys through September. I don't want this to ever be translated to him or anybody else that we don't have high, high confidence and high expectations for him."
As for Lynn, he'll get his fourth career chance to finish five innings in a postseason start. Lynn went 3 2/3 innings in both of his NLCS starts last October. In Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Pittsburgh, Lynn was chased after allowing seven hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Lynn did throw 29 pitches in relief on Friday, but he used that work in place of a bullpen session he otherwise would have thrown on Saturday.
"I actually hadn't been off the mound for seven or eight days prior to yesterday, so I'm actually glad that I was able to get in the game situation and get going there," Lynn said on Saturday. "I think that will help me going forward into starting Game 4."