ST. LOUIS — There has been nothing but tough times for right-hander Lance Lynn in his last five starts.
But St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny expects great improvement when Lynn faces the Philadelphia Phillies at 6:15 p.m. Thursday. The Cardinals are going for their first three-game sweep of the Phillies at Busch Stadium since Aug. 17-19, 2001.
"I'm very confident. I'm excited to watch him pitch," Matheny said. "He's got that little extra in him where he feels like he has something to prove. The last few have been so frustrating for him. He's coming out with a whole different mind-set and different approach to being himself. That's what we've really challenged him to be, and he's just been kind of searching to see what that looks like."
In his last five starts, Lynn (11-5, 4.13 ERA) is 1-4 with a 6.30 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting .315 against him.
Matheny said to expect a quicker pace for Lynn, whose methodical approach of late has contributed to his sluggish outings.
"There's so much that goes on before the pitch," Matheny said. "That's part of your demeanor; that's part of the pace. We talked about the last game (a 5-3 loss to San Diego). It was so slow. He was trying to find something there. That's not him.
"You're going to see a quicker tempo. You're going to see a guy with some emotion. He was trying to control it before and it was just going too far. It's been a fine line, and it's not easy for a young pitcher to get through."
Lynn will be opposed by Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (9-6, 3.94 ERA). Matt Adams will bat cleanup for the first time this season for St. Louis, which will rest right fielder Carlos Beltran. Shane Robinson is playing for Beltran.
"More so than anything else, it's who we don't have tonight," Matheny said of Adams' role in the fourth spot. "With Matt Holliday still on the mend and with Carlos needing a day, we needed to bump 'Craiger' (Allen Craig) into that third spot. It left an opening.
"We've been really happy with how Yadi (Molina) produces in that fifth spot. It came down to Adams and David (Freese), and we really like how Adams is going about his at-bats."
Here are the lineups:
Matt Carpenter, 2B
Jon Jay, CF
Allen Craig, LF
Matt Adams, 1B
Yadier Molina, C
David Freese, 3B
Shane Robinson, RF
Pete Kozma, SS
Lance Lynn, P
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Chase Utley, 2B
Delmon Young, RF
Darin Ruf, 1B
Laynce Nix, LF
John Mayberry, CF
Erik Kratz, C
Kyle Kendrick, P