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.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.