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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.