Sunday, April 14, 2024

What a Difference Seven Years Makes


I don't think that, when he initially left the Cardinals, I could have predicted how surprisingly durable Lance Lynn's career would be. Like, he had some strong years in St. Louis but he also missed all of 2016 with an injury [back when that was still a freak thing and not a regular occurrence]. So him splitting 2018 with the Twins and Yankees, and...mediocrely at that, didn't give me much hope for him long term.

And yet since the last time he pitched for St. Louis, Lynn has contended for a Cy Young, led the league in IP, topped his current career single season strikeouts and ERA records, and played for three playoff teams [and, in all three cases, poorly]. For a three year period, Lance Lynn had a second career renaissance and was definitively one of the best pitchers in baseball again. He sort of limped off last year, but he's still in the MLB at 37, and still being relied upon to start games, which says a lot. 

So this season, Lance Lynn has a chance at notching his 2000th strikeout, and potentially his 150th win, while playing for the team he won a World Series with in his rookie season. The only issue is......the Cardinals are not what they were in 2011. In 2011, they had Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and David Freese. Now they have two Hall of Famers who are refusing to hit well and a bunch of rookies that are just beginning to figure things out.

So that's really gonna be the question. I don't know if Lynn can win 14 games with this team because that would imply the Cardinals win 14 games with Lynn staying in the game long enough to get the decision. Starters don't work like that anymore, and the Cardinals don't work like that anymore either, especially with Victor Scott and Jordan Walker's tremendous[ly awful] defensive play.

The good news is the Cardinals still have some pop, and Willson Contreras, Ivan Herrera, Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman have been responsible for some excellent power hitting so far. It doesn't make the team a defensive giant, nor does it make a team with an especially low median age, considering the number of older players [Goldschmidt, Lynn, Brandon Crawford] pulling it away from all the rookies. The rotation at least has Sonny Gray, Steven Matz and Miles Mikolas playing well, but, again, these are all older guys. If the young guys can't muster up anything then there's no point.

I'm not sure what the Cardinals are gonna turn out to be this year, but it's upsetting to see them having image issues even with all the star power. Hopefully something clicks eventually.

Coming Tonight: A power-hitting outfielder for a team looking to turn the power off soon enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment