Lance Lynn's offense has, statistically, been one of the best in baseball on days he's started in recent years. On Monday, he showed that he doesn't always need a ton of run support to get the job done.
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Lynn halted the streaking Brewers on Monday night, striking out 11 batters over seven shutout innings en route to the Cardinals' 4-0 win. He came one strikeout shy of tying his career best for a single game, and it was the seventh time in his career that Lynn has registered double-digit strikeouts in a start.
The right-hander is capable of such dominance on any given night, but it's been the remarkable run support over the course of his career that's played an equally large role in his success. Lynn ranked 14th in the majors in run support per start last year, with his teammates scoring 5.1 runs every time Lynn took the hill. That's after leading the league in run support in 2012, receiving 6.1 runs per game. It's no wonder, then, that Lynn went 33-17 over that span.
This season started off no different, with Lynn allowing eight runs in 11 innings through his first two starts yet emerging victorious in both decisions. The Cardinals scored seven runs in each start, helping offset a 6.55 ERA from the 26-year-old.
On Monday, though, Lynn didn't need any extra help in picking up his third win. Lynn cruised from the outset, holding the Brewers to just three hits and three walks over his seven innings. And he victimized some of the Brewers' best hitters while carving up the lineup -- of his 11 strikeouts, six came by way of the trio of Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy.
Lynn is often the forgotten (or overlooked) man in the Cardinals' rotation, but the hefty righty has struck out over a batter per inning in his career and was an All-Star in 2012. Performances like Monday's are a good reminder that, while he's rarely short on run support, he's got what it takes to create his own luck, too.
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Kimbrel Dealing With Shoulder Soreness
Monday's contest between the Braves and Phillies featured 10 different pitchers used by the two sides, but it was the pitcher who didn't get work that made headlines.
Clutching onto a 9-6 lead, the Braves turned to David Carpenter, not all-everything closer Craig Kimbrel, to finish the game. The move came after the Braves had coughed up a four-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning only to score four in the top half of the ninth.
Carpenter nailed down the win without incident, but it was still curious not to see Kimbrel get the call. After the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez shed more light on the situation, saying Kimbrel is day-to-day with a sore right shoulder.
While Gonzalez went on to say it was nothing more than "normal soreness," anything having to do with a pitching shoulder is cause for a small red flag. Of note is that the soreness comes two days after Kimbrel was sitting 93-95 mph in Saturday's win over the Nationals, noticeably less than the 95-97 the right-hander usually touches.
For now, it's merely an ailment that may cause the Braves to be judicious with their usage of Kimbrel. But it's an issue, "normal" or otherwise, worth monitoring in the coming days.
Tommy John For Moore
The Rays' rotation took its second major hit in two days Monday.
A day after placing budding ace Alex Cobb on the disabled list with a strained oblique, Matt Moore confirmed what many feared: the left-hander will require Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
There was some hope that the surgery could be avoided and he could simply pitch through the pain, but Moore threw on Monday and made the decision to go ahead with the surgery. The surgery will take place next week, and Moore will likely be sidelined until the middle of the 2015 season as he recovers from the procedure.
The Rays had already pressed Erik Bedard into action with Cobb's injury, and Cesar Ramos, who allowed four runs in two innings to start Sunday's game, is the most likely to benefit from the Rays' misfortune. The left-hander had already been guaranteed one more start to show what he's got, but it's likely now that the Rays will continue to run him out every fifth day until Cobb returns.
Monday's late slate of games featured a number of potentially serious and impactful in-game injuries.
The Mets got the worst of it, specifically in the outfield, as the team removed Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in consecutive half innings. Granderson injured his left ribcage, forearm and knee contusions running into the outfield wall in the first inning. After trying to play through it, he was replaced to start the bottom of the sixth inning.
In the top half of the seventh, Lagares was removed after suffering a pulled right hamstring while running out a ground ball. Granderson will have X-rays taken to ensure nothing is broken, but Lagares' injury leaves less to the imagination. He's a candidate for a DL stint, and the Mets may have to rely on Bobby Abreu for a few days until Chris Young is eligible to return on Friday.
Elsewhere, another outfielder, Michael Cuddyer, also left after a collision with the outfield wall. The batting champion was able to walk off, but the concern was with his right elbow. After exiting, Cuddyer was diagnosed with a right elbow contusion, leaving him day-to-day. Granderson is also being called day-to-day with the bumps and bruises. More should be known about all three players' statuses for Tuesday's games later on in the day.
National League Quick Hits: The Pirates and Reds combined for 10 home runs through six innings but didn't get much further after rain suspended the game. The two sides will pick up where they left off Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. EST ... Bryce Harper left Monday's game with quad tightness, but it's not thought to be too serious. The Nationals had a safe lead, and Nationals manager Matt Williams has already said Harper could be back in the lineup on Tuesday ... The Padres locked up second baseman Jedd Gyorko with a six-year deal worth $35 million. Gyorko has struggled out of the gate but hit .249/.301/.444 with 23 home runs in his 2013 rookie campaign ... That Braves-Phillies tilt featured home runs galore, as the Braves launched five of the seven hit in the contest. Evan Gattis and Dan Uggla both homered twice, and Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons went back-to-back-to-back in the eighth inning.
American League Quick Hits: An MRI on Koji Uehara's shoulder came back clean, and the right-hander should be back with the team for Tuesday's game. That doesn't mean he'll jump back into closing games, though -- Edward Mujica may still get a save chance or two while Uehara rounds back into dominant form ... Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will throw a 45-pitch simulated game Saturday in Miami. The next step could be a rehab assignment ... Logan Morrison left Monday's game before making an appearance, exiting with a tight right hamstring. The injury is day-to-day for now ... Scott Kazmir (triceps) expects to make his next start after being removed from Sunday's game. The left-hander said as much after the outing ... John Jaso hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Athletics a 3-2 lead. Luke Gregerson pitched a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win ... Maicer Izturis will miss four-to-six months with a ligament tear in his left knee. His season is effectively over.