First off, see? Saturdays are better than Fridays for this year’s Cardinals. Their Saturday winning streak increased to a perfect 3-0 for 2014 with yesterday’s 4-3 victory over the Nationals.
And speaking of perfect records, Lance Lynn has one as well — he’s now 4-0, the first (and, at the moment, only) pitcher in the National League with that many wins. There’s only one in the American League too: Mark Buehrle of the Blue Jays, who also won yesterday afternoon.
Just a reminder: Lynn does rhyme with win …
Anyway, the win more importantly was the Cardinals 11th of the season. And here are four highlights from the victory.
1. The top of the second inning
Yes, another error, and not surprisingly by the Nationals. This time it was after a one-out walk to Allen Craig, when Jhonny Peralta grounded it to Anthony Rendon at third, whose throw to Danny Espinosa at second was wide. Both Craig and Peralta were safe. They each moved up a base when Kolten Wong grounded out, which meant they each were able to score easily on Tony Cruz’s base hit to right when the Nationals chose to pitch to him with Lance Lynn on deck. Although pitching to Lynn perhaps wasn’t a wise decision either, given that he doubled to the right field corner and drove in Cruz. A 3-0 lead in the second inning courtesy of the 8th and 9th hitters? Now that’s a highlight.
2. Lance Lynn’s pitching
I’m very well aware that his legion of detractors remains large, yet that’s partially what makes his success entertaining to me. Was he fantastic? No — he allowed five hits, with the run coming on a fifth inning homer to Danny Espinosa, and walked three while striking out five. He once again had a rough inning, as two of those walks came in the sixth after he gave up a single to Jayson Werth. He then was replaced by Kevin Siegrist then after only throwing 87 pitches. But Siegrist got Espinosa to fly out to center, so it ended OK.
By the way, Lynn’s ERA has dropped from 6.55 after allowing 8 earned runs in his first two starts against the Reds to 3.42 now. Oh, and as Ricky Horton reminded us yet again during the game, Lynn has more wins since 2012 than any pitcher in the National League. Yes, I know about wins as a stat and how they don’t really show how skilled a pitcher is compared to other, more advanced stats. But MLB still counts them, right?
3. Jon Jay
This was Jay’s 8th start of the season, and he’s had at least one hit in seven of them. Yesterday he had two, both singles. He’s still not, and won’t be, Peter Bourjos on defense — nor even on the bases, as he seems to way too many adventures there too as he did again yesterday. But it is nice to see the bat. Overall he’s hitting .276/.344/.517 for the season with two doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBI.
4. Trevor Rosenthal vs. Jayson Werth
While the bottom of the ninth inning was more than a little adventurous for Trevor Rosenthal again — a walk, getting hit by a liner straight back at him from Denard Span, throwing to second base instead of first, a balk to advance the two Nats on, a run scored on a groundout by Kevin Frandsen — it was understandably a tense situation when Jayson Werth came to bat with a runner at third and the score 4-3. Werth has one career hit off Rosenthal in four at-bats — a home run. Yet in that tense situation what we saw was, very thankfully, vintage Trevor for the first time in a while. Three pitches that were 98, 99 and 99 mph.
That’s a winner!
The series finale is this afternoon at 12:35 Central Time, with what looks to be another good pitching matchup: Shelby Miller vs. Stephen Strasburg. Both have had an interesting 2014 so far, as each is 1-2 with Miller’s ERA 4.67 and Strasburg’s 6.00. Shelby looked more like himself his last time out, while Stephen only went four innings and gave up six runs to the Marlins. Obviously, the Cards are looking for Strasburg’s struggles to continue and take three of four for the series.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like AMF on Facebook if you don’t already.