Found May 03, 2012 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS Lance Lynn may not be Chris Carpenter, but he's pitching about as good as the former Cy Young winner ever has.
Lynn continued a remarkable start to the year Wednesday night, becoming the first National League pitcher to reach five wins with 6 23 strong innings in the Cardinals 12-3 romp of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Moved to the rotation because of a nerve injury to Carpenter, Lynn has pitched better than anyone could have even optimistically expected. He allowed just three hits and two runs Wednesday and is now 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in five starts.
"It means we have five wins when I'm pitching, so that's good," Lynn said. "That's all I'm trying to do, help us win when we're out there. I'm off to a good start and the team has really been carrying me.
"It's nice just to be able to help the team win and that's what I'm going to continue to try and do from here on out."
Lynn became the first Cardinals starter since Bob Tewksbury in 1994 to win his first five starts of the season. He's the 13th Cardinal to achieve the feat and just the sixth since 1955.
The 6-5, 250-pound Lynn allowed one earned run in each of his first four starts. He looked poised to continuing that streak, allowing only a two-out RBI double in the second inning before retiring 15 consecutive batters until the seventh inning.
Lynn allowed a two-out walk and a single before being removed in the top of the seventh with runners on the corners. Marc Rzepczynski entered and allowed a run-scoring single to Clint Barmes, giving Lynn his second earned run of the night.
While the Cardinals offense took most of the headlines Wednesday by scoring 12 runs in the first three innings, Lynn quietly continued what's been an unbelievable first five starts.
"You can't be somebody that you're not and you're going to lessen your chances of being successful if you try to be," said manager Mike Matheny. "We had that conversation. You are who you are. (The media) has a job to do and the obvious is that Chris Carpenter isn't in the starting rotation and he is so you're going to start throwing some sort of connection there, but it all comes down to when he's on the mound, he's the guy we want out there and just do what you do best."
Carpenter was shut down during spring training because of a nerve issue that led to weakness in his right shoulder. He's reported progress in recent weeks but has yet to throw a ball and doesn't know when he will.
It took Carpenter eight starts to get his first win last year before eventually finishing 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA. The veteran came up huge in the postseason, beating Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the Division Series and making three strong starts in the World Series against the Texas Rangers.
But while Carpenter was excelling early in games, Lynn was making an impact at the end of them. The 24-year-old Lynn posted a 2.22 ERA and held opponents to a .176 batting average in 16 relief appearances before an oblique injury ended his regular season in August.
He returned for the National League Championship Series and posted a 3.27 ERA in 10 relief appearances in the NLCS and World Series, putting him in line to be the Cardinals main eighth-inning setup guy heading into Spring Training.
But along came the unexpected injury to Carpenter, moving the former college and Minor League starter back to the rotation. And the move couldn't have gone any better.
"I cant control what the situation is, all I can do is what I do pitching," Lynn said. "I can't go out there and try to pitch like someone else because that's when you get in trouble. You have to pitch the way you are capable of and just try to get better.
"I'm just worried about myself and my starts and trying to do everything I can to help them win and right now it's going well for me."
It couldn't be going any better. The Cardinals just hope it can continue.
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