(BaseballStL) -- Things began to unravel before a five-run fourth inning allowed the Milwaukee Brewers to erase a three-run deficit against Lance Lynn and the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.
The first six batters reached base via five singles and a fielding error by Lynn to begin the inning. Four runs and 20 pitches thrown later, Lynn finally recorded an out on a sacrifice bunt by opposing starter Kyle Lohse. Norichika Aoki scored another runner with a sacrifice fly before Jean Segura grounded out to shortstop to end the pain. The damage was too deep for the Cardinals in the 6-3 loss.
Crooked numbers are nothing new for Lynn this season. The five runs, albeit three earned, allowed in the fourth off Lynn matched a season high for runs allowed in an inning which was previously set against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 2.
In total, Lynn has been charged with at least three runs in an inning 11 times this season. He has allowed three or more runs in an inning in each of his last three starts.
In those 11 games with a three-plus run inning, only twice has Lynn not completed the inning. He failed to get out of the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 3 after allowing the first three batters to reach base -- he would be charged with three of the four runs scored that inning. The other came in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs on August 9. He was charged with three runs when reliever Randy Choate allowed two inherited runners to score.
These big run inning don’t occur late in his starts either. As a matter of fact, only three of them have happened in the fifth inning or later (4/3 vs. Diamondbacks, 8/9 vs. Cubs, 8/15 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates). This might be one reason why Lynn isn’t being replaced in the game. The three-plus run innings averaged to occur during the third inning of his starts.
In games when the “big inning” does occur, Lynn averages 102.36 pitches thrown compared to 101.8 thrown in games without allowing three or more runs in a single inning. The fewest amount of pitches thrown in a “big inning” game for Lynn was 74 against the Cubs on July 13.
Lynn also lasts one inning less in games with three or more runs scored in an inning compared to starts without the “big inning.”
So what do these “big inning” numbers mean? It boils down to one thing -- team results.
Lynn receives the best run support of any of the Cardinals pitcher in the starting rotation, but those big run innings have proven too much for the team to bounce back from. The Cardinals are 12-3 when Lynn avoids the “big inning” compared to a 4-7 mark when he runs into the one-inning trouble.
Tuesday’s loss to the Brewers was another all-or-nothing performance from Lynn -- something the team can’t afford from the 26-year-old late in the season.