The St. Louis Cardinals finished the season with the NL’s best record, and as such, they get the blessing of awaiting the winner of the Wild Card game as their NLDS opponent. In addition, they have the benefit of one of the best pitchers in baseball, Adam Wainwright, to deploy in Game 1 of any series. However, the #2 spot in the St. Louis rotation was very much up for grabs heading into October, and on Tuesday, we finally got some clarity in the situation.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced that right-hander Lance Lynn will get the ball in Game 2, ahead of young stud Shelby Miller in the St. Louis rotation. It isn’t a shock that Lynn would be selected over Miller on the basis of experience, but it does open Matheny up for criticism in using the inferior pitcher (by the numbers, at least) in this spot.
In 201.2 innings this season, Lynn has a respectable 3.97 ERA, but during a 3-month stretch ranging from June through August, Lynn posted ERA’s of 4.75 or higher in each month. Miller, on the other hand, finished with a 3.06 ERA this season, and is generally regarded to have a much higher “upside” than the 26-year-old Lynn.
Despite the announcement of the Game #1 and #2 starters, Matheny elected not to disclose his plans for the next two games, and that brings up the question of whether Miller and/or rookies Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha could be used in relief if Lynn runs into trouble. Either way, the St. Louis rotation is very interesting as they await the Wild Card winner, and it’s going to be a wild series.