(BaseballStL) -- It's kind of like a hitter being moved to the number two spot in the batting order. Or being given a couple days off to reset himself altogether.
But whatever analogy you want to use, it's fair game when it comes to Lance Lynn.
The Cardinals just cannot trust him right now in crucial situations with games on the line. He simply needs to be relegated to mop up duty so he can find whatever it is that he lost a couple months ago.
Yes, Lance Lynn started off the season on fire. As of June 13, the 25-year old was 10-2 with a 2.42 ERA. A few rough starts followed but he still was selected to the All Star team in Kansas City.
The season's second half has not been kind at all to him though. In 10 appearances (8 starts) he's thrown 43 and two-thirds innings, allowing 27 runs -- a 5.36 earned run average -- and surrendered a .305 opponents batting average.
That's not an accident. That's not a blip on the radar screen. That's not a fluke.
That's a problem. Lynn has, for some reason, lost all command of his pitches. The mid 90s velocity is still there. He just cannot for the life of him put it where he wants it.
And, frankly, location is the only thing that matters for a pitcher. Velocity is nice. Movement is incredibly important too. But if you can't locate your pitches, major league hitters will find a way to center it and make you pay big time.
At first, I really believed this rough stretch for Lynn would end. I really believed he'd figure out whatever was wrong mechanically and fix it.
That just has not happened.
Lynn's not tired, folks. He's thrown only 147 innings this season...which is not even close to uncharted territory for him. He's a big boy (6'5", 250 lbs) who's used to taking the ball every 5th day and giving his team a chance to win.
And now with the Cardinals in the heat of a playoff race, they need to go with their best guys. Unfortunately, Lance Lynn does not qualify for that group. With the Cards scratching and clawing their way back into Sunday's game versus the Nationals, Lynn gave up 2 crucial runs that proved to be the difference.
The Redbirds offense was able to get one of those back, but not the other. A loss resulted. An opportunity missed.
It's not all Lynn's fault. Mike Matheny made the managerial decision to give him a shot in that inning. That's his call. Now, it's Matheny's call on whether he should use Lynn in crucial outings like that again.
To me, it's a simple answer. Not yet. Not until Lynn shows he has the command of his fastball and his secondary pitches back. Not until he's rediscovered the confidence that made him an All Star this season.
Until then...he should only appear in mop up duty when the game has already been decided. It's unfortunate. Especially for someone who's been so incredible for the team this year.
But as the old saying goes...it's all about what have you done for me lately.
And lately, Lynn is showing he needs time to work on his stuff without appearing in decisive innings.