It’s possible that you’ll read a lot about how Lance Lynn pitched a lot better than the box score indicates, and he deserved a better fate. Indeed, he really did pitch better than the numbers show, but don’t think it’s all rainbows and fluffy bunnies, either. Sure, he received no help from Ryan “Iron Skillet” Theriot, but there is a reason why official scorers don’t assume the double play. For the same reason pitchers shouldn’t assume the double play, and they should be prepared to pitch through missed plays by their teammates. Lynn wasn’t prepared, and it showed immediately in his body language. He promptly fell behind Huff 2-0, and then he gave up a home run to change the score to 2-3 in favor of the Cardinals.
At that point, I wanted to see someone up in the bullpen. A storybook ending with Lynn getting the win would be nice, but he didn’t look like he was going to make it through 5 innings. Ideally, I wanted Lynn to start the 5th inning, get a strikeout, and get relieved so that he could leave to a nice standing ovation with his ERA in decent shape. Didn’t happen. It’s not that I’m writing with the benefit of history on my side, either. When an entire section of a baseball stadium expresses concern about ground ball to flyball ratio, it’s time to pack it in. Seriously, Lynn was practically flirting with danger the entire evening. Maybe the .200 batting average against and .214 BAbip don’t show it, but the 0.67 GB/FB does. Several of those in the “FB” category were of the “warning track” variety, so the outfielders got a good workout last night.
Speaking of the outfield, it’s time for TLR to realize that the outfield simply isn’t just a place where you put the extra guys who you want in the lineup on a given night. Allen Craig doesn’t spend a lot of time in the OF, and it showed last night. Sure, it was Colby’s job to make the call on the ball, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to have a little more time in the OF with Craig to build some cohesiveness. Just sayin’.
As for the debut of Maikel Cleto, I’m no pitching scout, but I’d say that he wasn’t exactly in top form. He can absolutely light up a radar gun as advertised, but his pitches tend to flatten out on occasion, and his most effective pitch clocks in at about 83 mph. He looked fine against the bottom of the Giants lineup, but he obviously got absolutely hammered by the guys who are paid not to be fooled easily. Poor timing by TLR to insert him when he did. All this talk about how TLR and Duncan put guys in positions to succeed seemed like nothing but empty words last night. At least he can walk away from the experience knowing that he struck out 3 major league hitters in 2 innings, although I’d have to say that the strike zone went from rather strict to generous in a hurry at one point. Apparently umpires are human. Given another couple years of fine tuning, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Cleto can be taught to really pitch more than throw, but I still don’t understand the point of bringing up a Double-A pitcher to get blasted for 2 innings.
TIDBIT: The other part of the Cleto trade, Brendan Ryan, is currently doing fine for Seattle. As of today, he’s hitting .274 and good for a total WAR of 1.1. In case you were wondering, Ryan Theriot‘s current WAR is -0.2. Bucket…..of……baseballs.
MORE BITS OF TID: Lest you think the picture at the top is simply a gratuitous shot of Team Fredbird (it is), I’ll explain. We had our own little last minute “Family Night” at Busch Stadium, and we adopted @Daniel_Doelling for the evening as part of a tweetup. It was great to meet Daniel, even if the gentleman next to him kept encroaching on his personal space. The photo above is in Daniel’s honor and was taken during the “Hot Chicks with Balloons” segment during which we even made it onto the big screen when a camera was shoved into our faces while we danced foolishly.
Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more foolish dancing!