Lynn slated for game two, says he's ready for either team -

Lynn slated for game two, says he's ready for either team

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) -- The final roster decisions won't come until Wednesday, but Mike Matheny and his staff have already named their first two starters. 

Unsurprisingly, Adam Wainwright will take the hill Thursday in the first contest. Following up the Cardinal ace will be Lance Lynn. 

"I think more than anything else is recently how well he's been throwing the ball," said Matheny before Tuesday's workout. "We like the way he's been rolling and it's a good fit."

Rolling would be a good descriptor for Lynn's last four starts. He's allowed three earned runs, struck out 30, and allowed only four extra base hits while surrendering no home runs.

"It's something he earned," Matheny said. "He's been very consistent here for the last several starts. He's really got a good tempo got a good feel for the ball and feel for the mound." 

Nearly two hours after the workout, Lynn spoke to a small circle of reporters in what was then a nearly-vacant clubhouse. While he was honored to be the game two starter, the young pitcher said his approach was going to remain the same. 

"It's not any different between game two three or four; whatever the start may have been," he said. "At this time of year you don't care when you start, you're looking forward to it. It's the playoffs. You ever get that opportunity to pitch, it doesn't matter when or where as long as you get that opportunity."

It's not Lynn's first postseason action. In 2011's World Series campaign, he worked out of the bullpen, appearing in 10 games, though never before the fifth inning. 

Last season, he began October in the pen, but ended up starting two games against San Francisco. Neither start went past 3 2/3 innings. 

This season, Lynn will enter as a starter and get the ball from the first pitch, something he is looking forward to. 

"I get a chance to start from the get go, so I'm looking forward to staying on that program and not changing anything up," he said. Lynn also added that his preseason and in-season workout regimens have paid off, saying he feels in good shape. 

He will need to be, as a division rival will be coming to town no matter who wins Tuesday night. There will be no secrets either way. 

Lynn has faced both clubs this season with varying results. In the first half, he threw well against both, holding Cincinnati to one earned run twice, and Pittsburgh once. He also had slips of four run games (one to each club), but the Cardinal offense turned those into victories. 

He closed the half 2-0 against both teams in his five starts against the pair. 

In the second half, he picked up where he left off with the Pirates, holding them to one run in their late-July meeting.

Then Pittsburgh got to Lynn in August and September for 11 earned runs on 18 hits in two starts. The Reds, after getting held to two runs and four hits in early August, followed suit; knocking three homers on their way to four runs in five innings against him on September 5.

The ups and downs have not fazed Lynn, however. 

"I faced [both] of those teams when I was going good and going bad," he smiled. "So I got the book on what not to do and what to do."

He went on to say that he's not really concerned what club he faces, adding he will likely not watch Wild Card game Tuesday night. While he admits it should be a fun contest, Lynn said there's not much insight that can be gained from watching such an unpredictable game. 

"You're looking at a one game playoff where you never know what they're going to do in different situations. There can be all kinds of different scenarios that they might do that they wouldn't do in a normal series game, especially in a game two," he said. He also added that the Cardinals have had plenty of chances to study both teams. "If you don't know what they're about yet, then you weren't paying attention all year."

The roster for the NLDS won't be announced until Wednesday, and there are still questions as to what strategy the Cardinal staff will take based on the matchup. It matters not to Lynn, however, as the young righty now knows his role. Matheny said postseason experience played a part in his decision to give Lynn the nod, though Lynn said he isn't depending on his previous exposure to October to carry him through. 

"When it's all said and done, if you're a rookie you can't control it, you just gotta go out and pitch. For guys who have done it before, it's never the same," he said. "It doesn't matter if you've been there before or not, it's always going to be different. Different teams, different situations, maybe different cities and things like that. So you have to let the last one go and worry about the one you're playing."

With a cadre of rookies undoubtedly scheduled to get their first taste of October baseball, Lynn's two years of postseason work make him a seasoned vet by comparison. However, he doesn't seem to romanticize the journey. While others see pressure and drama, the 26-year-old makes it sound like a straightforward equation.

"Every time you go out the mound is 60 feet, six inches away and that's all you worry about throwing the ball to Yadi," he said. "We've got one of the best catchers in the game and it's pretty simple. You look at him, he puts the sign down and you throw it where you're told."


JJ Bailey covers the Cardinals for and the BaseballStL app. Follow him on twitter @TheJJBailey and on @baseballstl_app for updates. 

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