October 27, 2013

World Series notebook: Unsung Lance Lynn deserves his due

The Cardinals’ fourth starter has won 33 games the past two seasons.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS — Lance Lynn may not be a household name to Boston Red Sox fans and as the St. Louis Cardinals No. 4 starter, his name does not create the buzz that Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha do.

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But Lynn was 18-7 last year and finished this season 15-10. This is only his third season, but he already has appeared in 19 playoff games.

He goes Sunday against the Red Sox.

“I think he’s one of the guys that gets overlooked, as we start talking about the youth of the staff,” Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny said. “He carried himself like a guy that’s been around a while.

“An intense competitor. A guy who loves being on that big stage.”

Lynn got beat by Pittsburgh in the NLDS (five runs in 41/3 innings), but beat the Dodgers twice in the NLDS, one of the victories coming in relief.

Lynn is a fastball-slider pitcher, with also a curve and change-up in his mix.

Despite his postseason experience, Lynn said it will hardly be business as usual on Sunday.

“It’s never going to feel normal. It’s a World Series,” he said.

“You’re getting a chance to start in the World Series against the best team in the American League. You’re excited.”

 

WHEN DAVID ORTIZ comes to bat, Lynn will be careful.

Left-handers don’t necessarily hit Lynn much better that righties (.259 to .247), but Lynn has seen what Ortiz can do, like hitting home runs in each of the first two games.

“You want to make sure you don’t let him beat you,” Lynn said. “They have a lot of guys that can do a lot of damage. But I’m OK with not giving him anything to hit, especially anything to drive out of the ballpark.

“My game plan is not to let him get anything up in the air, and make him hit my pitch at all times.

“And if I have to walk him, I’m going to walk him.”

 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL continues to be the only professional organization that allows its players to play by separate rules.

National League teams do not use a designated hitter. The American League does.

So instead of Boston slugger Mike Napoli playing first base, like he has all year, he sat the bench Saturday so Ortiz could move from DH to first base.

The Red Sox will have to play by National League rules for the three games in St. Louis.

“I think there’s probably more of an adjustment for the American League team coming into the National League (park) than vice versa,” Matheny said.

Napoli was taking ground balls at third base during batting practice. That may be a way for the Red Sox to get him in the game.

 

NAPOLI WAS not considered a finalist for the Gold Glove Award at first base, even though he led most first basemen in the various metrics used to measure defensive ability.

“He’s done an outstanding job. You’re always going to feel that way about your own guy,” Boston Manager John Farrell said. “I would venture Mike is still viewed as a catcher.”

 

NOTES: The Roberto Clemente Award was presented Saturday to Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran for his humanitarian efforts. Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow was a nominee for the award. … The Cardinals had a Stan Musial tribute before the game, marking the first time Musial was not present for a Cardinals World Series. Musial, the greatest player in St. Louis history, died last January. … Willie McGee threw out the first pitch. While McGee played most of his career for the Cardinals, he did play for the Red Sox in 1995, when Boston won the American League East Division.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: kthomas@pressherald.comTwitter: @ClearTheBases

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