It’s not often that a starting pitcher with a 13-5 record and 3.89 ERA gets dumped from the rotation and demoted to the bullpen less than two months after making the All-Star team, but that’s exactly what happened to Lance Lynn.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny decided to pull Lynn from the rotation in favor of rookie Joe Kelly and not surprisingly Lynn isn’t happy about the move. Matheny indicated to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Lynn could be moved back into the rotation if needed, but for now he’ll be in the mix for key spots as a reliever.
Lynn was 12-4 with a 3.10 ERA as recently as July 22, but in six starts since then he posted a 7.31 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .339 with a .990 OPS. Joe Kelly, meanwhile, has a 3.26 ERA in 77 innings and has allowed more than three runs just once in 12 starts. Too much quality starting pitching is certainly a very nice problem to have, although Lynn probably doesn’t see it quite that way.
Building on a report from early September, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is slated to undergo a heart procedure on November 26. The estimated recovery time ranges from two to eight weeks, according to comments Jansen made Friday, and he expects to be able to rejoin the team once spring training rolls around next year.
Jansen, 31, was first diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in 2011 and missed significant time during the 2011, 2012, and 2018 seasons due to the condition. He underwent his first surgery to correct the irregularity in 2012, but suffered recurring symptoms that could not be treated long-term with the heart medication and blood thinners that had been prescribed to him. Scarier still was the “atrial fibrillation episode” that the reliever experienced during a road trip to Colorado in August; per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the high altitude exacerbated his heart condition and left him susceptible to future episodes in the event that he chose to return to the Rockies’ Coors Field.
Heart issues notwithstanding, the veteran right-hander pitched through his third straight All-Star season in 2018. Overall, he saw a downward trend in most of his stats, but still collected 38 saves in 59 opportunities and finished the season with a respectable 3.01 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 71 2/3 innings. In October, he helped carry the Dodgers to their second consecutive pennant and wrapped up his sixth postseason run with three saves, two blown saves, and a 1.69 ERA across 10 2/3 innings.