GAME 4: Lynnsanity
Armed with a modified lineup, the Cardinals attempted to overcome their historical struggles against soft-throwing lefties. After a couple of innings, the Cardinals pecked away at Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf. Meanwhile, Cardinal starter Lance Lynn powered through strong seven innings as the Cardinals took the rubber game 9-3 over the Brewers.
SIR LANCE-A-LOT: Lance Lynn seems like someone you’d like to see every five days in a rotation. He’s approximately eight feet tall and weighs as much as a Volkswagon Jetta. When he stands on the mound, you’d swear that he’s the offspring of a human mother and a sasquatch. He also throws 96 mph fastballs. But, until this year, Lynn had only sporadic opportunities to impress. It looks like he intends to make the most of Chris Carpenter‘s absence, because Lynn was brilliant today. Blazing fastball, great location, and some well-positioned offspeed stuff kept the Brewers off-balance all day. He might be a legitimate addition to future seasons.
JUGGLING: Mike Matheny decided to scramble the lineup and see what happens. One of his more intriguing changes was the addition of second baseman Tyler Greene in the second spot, which pushed Carlos Beltran into cleanup. This permutation gave the Cards two slap-hitting speedsters ahead of the big guys. However, the experiment was only partially successful; Rafael Furcal went 3-5 with a RBI, while Greene floundered at 1-4 with an ugly three-pitch strikeout. Greene did redeem himself in the eighth with his first hit and RBI of the season, but he looked confused most of the time. Still, an interesting experiment.
BOOM BOOM BELTRAN: Remember how Lance Berkman‘s huge April and May propelled the 2011 Cardinals? That might be the impact that Carlos Beltran could have this year. Beltran ripped another home run (opposite field) while going 3-4 with a run and two RBI. Better yet, he seems like a calm, friendly presence in the clubhouse. His professional at-bats should really generate some excitement this summer.
SUGAR SUGAR: Most of the game proved annoying for little Sugar Shane Robinson. Batting eighth, two of Robinson’s hits were erased by Lynn in the ninth spot. But Robinson would not be denied with his third hit, a ninth-inning three run bomb. While I’m not a fan of his skimming, off-balance swing, it seems to be working for the kid.
BAD HAIR DAY: What is the deal with the beard on Mitchell Boggs? He looks like the day dishwasher at a gay biker bar.
FICKLE FANS: There were a disturbing number of empty seats in Miller Park today. I realize it was Easter, but I’ve been to Easter games at Busch and only ever saw sold-out crowds cheering on the Cardinals. I guess that’s the difference between real fans and wannabees.
NOT MOTTE: Why would Matheny employ closer Jason Motte in the bottom of the ninth with the team leading 9-2 at the time? It seemed like a bad idea primarily because it causes the closer to lose concentration. That proved true with one out, as steroid-abuser Ryan Braun slashed a long home run into deep center field. Mark my words – you dont’ want to overuse Motte this early in the season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lance Lynn, who totally dominated the game and showed that he’s ready for a major league rotation.
CONCLUSION: Questions continue to be answered as this roster takes shape. Lynn provides tremendous depth in the rotation, Beltran is a sufficient power source in a tough lineup, and the youngsters are relentless. They can win even without some key players out there. That should scare the National League.