Lance Lynn produced the second-most Wins Above Replacement of any Cardinal pitcher in the regular season. So it was strange that he didn’t see his first start in the NLCS until Game 4. Better late than never, as the saying goes — we were glad to see Mike Matheny ultimately, if reluctantly, dancing with the pitcher who brought him. We’re not sure why he or anyone thinks the Cardinals have better options, but Lynn performed admirably, posting a 2.86 FIP/4.40 xFIP over 5 1/3 innings and 24 batters faced.
- At least Lynn can get a bunt down. (He led the team in the regular season with 11.)
- People talk about how Matt Holliday likes to extend his arms. But as the Cardinal left fielder showed Tuesday, he is adept at pulling his lead arm in and taking an inside pitch over the left-field boards.
- Nick Punto’s boner was a win-expectancy hit of -8.6%. But it was far from the worst baserunning play in terms of win expectancy:
|1||Michael Young flied out to right (Fly). Mark Ellis out at home.||10||-31.8%|
|3||Jon Jay flied out to left (Fliner (Liner)). Daniel Descalso out at third.||5||-16.0%|
|4||Nick Punto picked off.||7||-8.6%|
|1||David Freese flied out to right (Fliner (Liner)). Jon Jay out at second.||7||-8.6%|
|1||Yasiel Puig reached on fielder’s choice to pitcher (Grounder). Carl Crawford out at home.||3||-8.5%|
- Then again, at least Mark Ellis had some potential reward to offset his risk.
- If you’re in danger of going down 3-1 in the series, are Chris Withrow (3.57 FIP/3.03 xFIP) and Carlos Marmol (5.19/4.53) the relievers that come to mind as the guys you want to keep the game close? We didn’t think so, either.
- Maness enticed the ground ball, but it was Pete Kozma and Matt Carpenter who turned the high-degree-of-difficulty double play.
- Yasiel Puig could learn a thing or two from Shane Robinson.
- Credit Carlos Martinez for having the guts to wheel and attempt the pickoff at second in the first place. To be sure, in the same way that Punto had little to gain in advancing to third, given that the Dodgers still needed two runs, Martinez had a higher level of risk tolerance, since an error wouldn’t have been catastrophic, but it still incurred some risk for the rookie.
- Andre Ethier’s bad leg came back to haunt the Dodgers in the ninth, when he couldn’t buy enough time for Puig to avoid a crushing double play.
- So, Yasiel Puig fans: You’ll have to let us in on the secret to deciphering how what Puig does is “celebrating the game” and not “celebrating himself.” Must be some subtlety that we’re not picking up on.