The baseball mentality after Opening Day is “one game down, 161 more to go”. Now that the first game is behind us it’s time to look on to the next one. Next up to face the Chicago Cubs is the Cardinals big right-handed starter, Lance Lynn. At 6’5″ and 240 pounds Lynn is a very imposing pitcher to face off against.
He features a good four-seam fastball that touches in the mid 90’s that leads to a lot of strikeouts for him (averages 8.8 K’s per nine innings), and he is also a good ground ball pitcher. His sinker and cutter induce a lot of grounders for the Cardinals defense.
Over his four-year career he has faced the Chicago Cubs 11 times, posting a record of 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.71 WHIP over 62.1 innings pitched.
As a team, the Cubs haven’t had a lot of success against Lynn. The Cubs batting average is a mere .224 over those four seasons, managing only 22 runs with only six home runs. But that is against the Cubs players of past, and very few of the present ones.
Against the current set of Cubs players,a few players have had success against Lynn. Starlin Castro having the most plate appearances against him has a .333 average, three doubles, a triple and three runs batted in. Welington Castillo has excelled against him going 4-for-6 with a home run. Dexter Fowler also hits Lynn well in limited opportunities going 2-for-4 with two walks.
The same success does not follow Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Montero, and David Ross. Rizzo with the most opportunities is 5-for-22 (.227 average) one homer, three RBI, two walks, and five strikeouts. Montero is hit-less in 10 at bats, but has drawn three walks. Ross is 1-for-6 with a double and four strikeouts.
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So while the few Cubs that have had some success against Lynn aren’t much – they also do not generate a lot of runs with what hits they are able to get.
But there is hope because the majority of the runs scored and success the Cubs have had against Lynn is in Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field against Lynn have a .280 batting average with five homers, 33 hits, and 17 runs. For Lynn in his five starts in Wrigley – he is 2-2 with a 5.04 ERA over 30.1 innings pitched.
The numbers are just that – they only can tell you the history of the match-up. What matters is how the players go out and play the game. After what was probably a very frustrating Opening Night, I plan on seeing a much more aggressive and a lot less nervous team.
The Cardinals are a fundamentally sound team and Sunday they took advantage of what mistakes were made and they made the Cubs pay. I think Joe Maddon will have these kids ready and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs to jump out to an early lead and hopefully that will allow Jake Arrieta to cruise for the teams first win.