Monday, August 27, 2012

Lance Lynn is Out; Joe Kelly is In

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM

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The Cardinals made it official over the weekend: Lance Lynn is on his way to the bullpen. Replacing him in the rotation will be Joe Kelly, who did such an admirable job filling in for Jaime Garcia this season while the lefty was on the disabled list. Let Lynn Versus Kelly: The Great Girl Name Pitcher Debate begin. 

It's hard to argue with the logic behind this move; Kelly has continued to pitch fairly well since being moved into relief work, while Lynn has struggled badly for the past month. After looking like an ace in the making for the first few months of the season, Lynn has seen his ERA balloon up near the 4.00 mark and all his peripherals take serious turns downward. 

Really, though, it isn't the fact Lance Lynn has looked bad that makes me think this could be the right move. It's the fact he just looks tired. A pitcher can work through struggles, be they mental or mechanical. Asking a pitcher to try and somehow work through fatigue is another matter entirely. 

Still, while I think this could be a good move, I'm not at all convinced it was the best move the Cards could have made, given the situation. 

Here's my problem with shifting Lynn to the bullpen: if the Cardinals are, as I believe them to be, working off the theory that Lynn's issues right now are caused by fatigue -- and that's a fair assumption, given that he has exceeded his innings total from last season by a full 40 innings already -- then I don't know the bullpen is really the right place for him. Sure, he won't be throwing 100+ pitches every five days, but it isn't as if he won't be pitching at all. And in relief work, there's really no way of scheduling when a given pitcher is going to get in the game, either; pitchers pitch when they need to. If the idea is to back off Lynn and give his arm some time to try to bounce back, the bullpen isn't going to offer that opportunity.

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