(BaseballStL) — Lance Lynn continues to quietly post elite numbers in 2014, adding to his totals Tuesday night with a seven inning start resulting in one earned run. It was the sixth time this season he’s gone at least 21 outs allowing two earned runs or less and the sixteenth time he’s pitched into the sixth inning without allowing three runs.
“He’s still intense. I think he’s found a way to keep that intensity without it negatively affecting his stuff and I think that’s a huge step in his career,” said Mike Matheny after Tuesday’s 3-2 win. “There’s times that you can’t tell something happened against him.”
Lynn’s patience was tested twice against the Red Sox, the first time when Matt Carpenter made a throwing error in the fifth inning. Daniel Nava ended up on second due to a wild throw from the Cardinal third baseman and scored two hitters later on a sacrifice fly. It was a situation that in the past could have sent the 27-year-old into a spiral of frustration. Instead, he struck out Will Middlebrooks to end the inning.
“You just have to ride it out and whatever happens happens but make your pitch. I think in years past when I made my pitch and it didn’t work out I got a little frustrated,” Lynn said. “I’m still going to get frustrated, but you have to regroup and make the next pitch and I’ve been able to do that so far this year.”
Lynn’s assessment echoed Matheny’s earlier in the night, as the Cardinal skipper praised his mercurial starter’s progression.
“That’s really what you see more than anything else,” he said. “He isn’t letting circumstances outside of his control really dictate the next pitch.”
Lynn’s second test came with the bases loaded in the seventh. Crossing the century mark for pitches earlier in the inning, the big righty got nod from his manager to finish the frame, even with the sacks jammed. It was a tremendous vote of confidence for Lynn, who called such moments part of the maturation process for major league pitchers.
“A lot of guys their first two years as a starter they don’t really have a long leash” he said. “As the years go on, the third, fourth years, when you really come into your own and you really find out what kind of pitcher guys are, that’s when you see managers give guys a longer leash.”
Lynn got a possible double play ball when Middlebrooks hit a spinner back to the mound, but he couldn’t get the ball in time to turn two.
“I jammed him up, it was spinning and never got to me. You’re trying to make sure you catch it and throw the guy out at home and the ball just seemed like it wouldn’t get to me,” he said.
He got one out, but the Sox reclaimed the lead on the play. It was his disposition’s second test of the night and he passed it the same way; striking out Mike Napoli to close the inning.
“It’s a lot more fun when you don’t give up four in an inning,” he smiled at his locker after the game. Despite the situation in the seventh, the Sox didn’t threaten Lynn much all night. Only allowing four hits, two of them hit softly to empty spots on the field, he reduced most swings to harmless grounders.
“He had an amazing sinker,” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. “The thing about Lance is he throws the sinker and he throws a four seamer that kind of rides up. He can do both and tonight he had a really good sinker. You could see it in on righties, away from lefties. He got a ton of ground balls, especially when he needed them.”
When the Cards have needed Lynn, he’s been there all season. He didn’t get the decision Tuesday, but the team is 14-9 in his appearances, second only to Adam Wainwright’s 16-6.