Tag Archive | "Fatigue"

Is Lance Lynn Out Of Line?

The St. Louis Cardinals opened camp on Tuesday morning with the traditional pitchers and catchers workouts.  It did not take long for the first quote to fire up the fan base to come out.

LanceLynn4

Lance Lynn has arrived at camp looking fit having dropped a reported 40 pounds.  He has successfully avoided using the phrase “best shape of my life”, is on the heels of an 18 win season, and addressed the one thing that critics had for him last year by improving his offseason diet to hopefully address the fatigue that set in at the end of 2013.  In the midst of losing starter Chris Carpenter and the buzz around three young rookies hoping for a rotation spot, Lynn is a bright spot in early camp.

Then, on Tuesday morning during a media scrum, a quote came flying out from Lance Lynn.  It may or may not be “out of context”, but it seemed to fire up the fanbase pretty quickly.  Via Twitter, beat writer Jenifer Langosch shared Lynn’s thoughts on the rotation competition this spring:

Lynn on rotation competition: "I was an 18-game winner last yr w/ an All-Star appearance. I have to do a lot of things to lose a spot, IMO."
@LangoschMLB
Jenifer Langosch

It is easy to see how that could rub some fans wrong.  That is not the way players tend to act around St. Louis.  Players that have been in the league for years, won multiple awards, and are solidified in their positions for years to come say “I’m here competing for my spot on the team”.  It shows a cockiness and brash attitude that this team, and it’s fans, are not accustomed to hearing.

The question here is: was it really wrong to say?

He is right, isn’t he?  I would say, due to the news of Chris Carpenter’s injury, that Lynn’s spot in the rotation is his to lose and in order to lose it, he would have to collapse pretty hard this spring.  His season last year was impressive, especially considering the second half issues he ran into.  The work he has already put in to attempt to fix that part of his game deserves accolades.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article on Tuesday as well, discussing Lynn with his manager.  Matheny had high praise for his starter and his offseason work.  The manager also had this to say about early perceptions that Lynn was not guaranteed a spot in the rotation this year:

“I know (that) made Lance a little frustrated,” said Matheny “I told him, ‘We want you coming in competing for a spot. We don’t want you rolling in thinking this is yours.’”

It is not easy to say if there is a right or wrong here.  Some will say “Carp would have never said anything like this.”  Others will point out that Lance Berkman was a breath of fresh air and would tend to be brutally honest with the media and the fans.  It is easy to see that type of quote being attributed to Berkman and fans would have applauded his honesty.  So why the outrage that Lynn is doing so?  Is it because of his age?

I freely admit that my immediate reaction was negative.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want a young player who, in my mind, still has some things to prove to sound so cocky.  I want him to talk about working hard to prove that last year was not a fluke.  I also admit that this is a personal preference.  Personally, I don’t like what Lynn said.  However, I also don’t feel what he said was incorrect.

The basic thought is there: an All Star pitcher made a statement that most of us were already thinking.

Is there anything really wrong with that?

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)

Taking Care of Business: A Preview of the 2011 Cardinals vs. Pirates Series

Though the 2010 series was won by the Cardinals (9-6), the Pirates took 5 of their 6 series victories in August and September. To Cardinals fans, this period is known as the great late season slump that killed the Cardinals hopes for winning the 2010 NL Central Division. The losses the Cardinals suffered at the hands of the Pirates were inexcusable and a huge reason why they failed at achieving their goals. The Pirates are traditionally terrible. A team that hopes to capture the NL Central Division can and must beat the Pirates consistently.

In 2011, the Cardinals are once again favored to challenge for the division title. The Pirates, once again, are rebuilding. They have some talent, but not nearly enough to make a run at the pennant. Here is how the teams match up:

Starting Pitching

The St. Louis Cardinals once again boast one the best one-two punches in starting pitching. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are arguably two #1 starters. Both of them could be a #1 starter on most rotations. Last year Wainwright won 20 games with a 2.42 ERA. Carpenter went 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA. A down year for him, but if he can bounce back the lethal 1-2 combination of 2009 could be back.

The #3 and #4 starting positions are between Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook. In 2010, Garcia broke onto the MLB scene by posting a 13-8 record and a 2.70 ERA. Though, he did fatigue by year end. The Cardinals are going to have to watch him closely and possibly limit his pitch count again.

Jake Westbrook was added to the 2010 roster late in the season via the controversial Ryan Ludwick trade. He did well enough to entice GM Joe Mozeliak to resign him. Westbrook posted a 4-4 record with a 3.48 ERA. The good news about Westbrook was that he posted his best numbers toward the end of the year. With a full spring under Dave Duncan, perhaps he can improve and challenge Garcia for the #3 spot.

The #5 spot in the Cardinals rotation “should” belong to Kyle Lohse. The last two years have been huge disappointments for Lohse. Some of it can be blamed on injury. Some of it has been inconsistency. Hopefully Lohse can bounce back this year and become a solid starter again.

For the Pirates, there isn’t much to be excited about. The one bright spot on the Pirates rotation is Paul Malhom. In 2010 he led the team with 9 wins and a ERA of 5.10. Those are not dominant numbers in any respect, but, it’s the best the Pirates have to offer.

Edge: No contest. The Cardinals have a huge edge in the battle of starting rotations.

Bullpen

Similar to the starting pitching comparisons, the edge is clearly with the Cardinals. In 2010 the Cardinals had the 11th ranked bullpen in MLB compared to the Pirates, who ranked 28th. The Cardinals closer spot is not completely stable in my opinion. Ryan Franklin is just a game away from a melt down. But they are loaded with young RHP talent like Jason Motte. Not to mention Trevor Miller from the left side.

Octavio Duel collected 21 saves for the Pirates but has departed for the Blue Jays. Once again the Pirates bullpen will be pieced together.

Edge: Cardinals.

Infield

For the last 3 years most of the infield positions outside of 1st base have been a question mark for the Cardinals. In hopes of stabilizing the middle infield, Mo added SS Ryan Theriot to the roster. I believe 2010 was an anomaly for Skip Schumaker who, in a “down year, batted .265. The tandem of Schumaker and Theriot must work hard to keep the number of errors down. Catcher Yadier Molina provides the most stability outside of Pujols. The Golden Glove catcher is remarkable at calling games and as a clubhouse leader. The main key to the Cardinals infield is 3rd base. If David Freese can play the whole year and if he can contribute as he did before going down last June the Cardinals infield could be significantly better than in 2010.

The Pirates added 1st baseman Lyle Overbay to their roster this offseason. Overbay brings a fair amount of power but not a lot of consistency to the Pirates infield lineup. The rest of the Pirates infield is decent, but not overwhelming. Neil Walker and Ronny Cedeno and Pedro Alvarez make up the middle infield, with Pedro Alvarez at 3rd base. Chris Snyder, and his .167 average, will be catching for the Pirates.

Edge: Cardinals.

Outfield

The Cardinals outfield has the potential to be extremely dangerous. The key is going to be if that potential pans out. General Manager John Mozeliak took a gamble on Lance Berkman, aka the “Big Puma”, this offseason. Most teams were put off of considering Berkman for the outfield. However, Berkman has gotten back into great shape. If he can stay healthy and put up big numbers up again, his bat is going to be a huge addition. In left field there are not as many questions, to say the least. Matt Holliday had another huge season with a .312 average while putting up 28 home runs. He remains a vital piece in the Cardinals lineup, providing “protection” for Pujols. The catalyst is going to be the promising but puzzling CF Colby Rasmus. Colby batted .276 and hit 23 home runs last year. The biggest being a grand slam against the Reds on his birthday. But he must get past his personal feud with TLR. And, he must be more consistent against LHP. If he gets the AB’s he deserves, he has the potential for a break out season.

The Pirates outfield is the lone bright spot for the team. Center Fielder Andrew McCutchen is a dynamic hitter and fielder. He led the team in average in 2010 hitting .286 with 16 home runs. He also fielded .987. McCutchen will remain the one player for Pirates fans to watch. In right field the Pirates will showcase Garret Jones. In 2010 Jones led the Pirates in home runs with 21, though he only hit for an average of .247. The outfield is rounded out with Jose Tabata. In 2010 he only played 102 games but he did hit for a .299 average with 4 home runs.

Edge: Cardinals.

The Cardinals clearly have the edge in all aspects of their team. The 2011 season should see the Cardinals dominate the Pirates once again. But, it can not be as close as it was in 2010. And, most importantly, the Cardinals must take advantage of their matchups with the Pirates in August.

Posted in Cardinals, FeaturedComments (0)


Fantasy Sports Machine