Lynn gets familiar treatment from Pirates, coupled with bad brea -

Lynn gets familiar treatment from Pirates, coupled with bad breaks in the field

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) -- Things are starting to feel awfully familiar for Lance Lynn when he faces the Pirates. 

Counting Friday's loss, the young pitcher has given up 25 hits, 16 earned runs and seven walks in his last 13.2 innings against the Bucs.

At first glance, Friday looked like more of the same from the mercurial righty, but the numbers make it seem worse than it was. 

Lynn was charged with five earned runs and seven hits. The first run came in the second inning when Jon Jay seemed to misread a ball off of Pedro Alvarez's bat, breaking in before sprinting back as the ball sailed over his head for a ground rule double. 

While the ball was pounded, it looked upon replay like a play Jay would normally make. 

"We had some trouble with the ball in the air today," said Mike Matheny. "Not an excuse, but the ball traveled differently today than probably any other day during the season."

For whatever reason, Alvarez's shot put him on second base instead of in the dugout. A foul popup from Russell Martin followed, and a rare miscue from Yadier Molina allowed it to drop. It was a tough play, and Molina was not charged with an error. 

However, it did take four more pitches to retire Martin, and one could forgive Lynn if he became frustrated. After all, he had seen two balls drop though could have been caught, and with them, the inning would have been over.

Instead, an intentional walk followed, and Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole came to the plate. Lynn fell behind Cole 1-0 and the young hurler's subsequent double began the scoring. 

"The only time he got into trouble was when he didn't control the counts," Matheny said. "When he got into disadvantaged counts, it was a completely different at bat." 

After hitting the next batter to load the bases, Lynn gathered himself and got out of the inning with no further damage. 

It wasn't until he fell behind once more to Alvarez in the third that the Pirates scored again. On a 1-0 pitch to the third baseman, Lynn fed Alvarez down the middle and the Cardinal killer parked his second ball of the postseason. 

"He’s a good hitter. He leads the National League in home runs," Lynn said of Alvarez. "With the way the ball was carrying today, he put two balls in the air that carried well for him and it worked out well.”

Despite the ugly line, Lynn threw to his strengths. He saw eight first pitch strikes, nine counts of 0-2 or 1-2, and Pirates hitters swung and missed 10 times. His curveball was sharp, and he leaned heavily on his hook early with success. 

"I don’t think I gave up a hit on it all day. I made a mistake with the fastball they were ready for and it shows what kind of hitters they are when you’re throwing the ball well with your breaking stuff and then you throw a fastball and they’re ready for it," he said. 

In all, it was four big hits that did Lynn in. He served up the single to Cole, the homer to Alvarez, and back-to-back doubles that chased him from the game in the fifth. Another brief postseason outing that perhaps should have gone differently

"You start giving extra runners, start giving extra outs, it's going to catch up with you," said Matheny. "We had some mishaps that ended up costing us more runs than what some of our pitchers deserved."

For his part, Lynn took the loss in stride. "It’s playoff baseball. They got the big hits when they needed to and they strung them together when they needed to just like we did yesterday," he said. "That’s just part of it."

Unfortunately, lately that seems to be most of it when Lynn faces the Pirates.


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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