Lance Lynn was none too pleased about his performance Monday or manager Mike Matheny’s decision to postpone his start by three days.
“It didn’t help,” Lynn said after the St. Louis Cardinals’ 9-0 defeat to the Chicago Cubs. “When you’re in a rhythm and you’re a creature of habit, the extra time is never wanted. That’s just part of it. But you’ve got to go out there and pitch when your name is called or when they tell you you’re going to pitch again. Today, I didn’t get the job done.”
Lynn (11-9) was tagged for six runs (earned) on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two in a 59-pitch outing that jumped his ERA from 2.80 to 3.12.
“It was rough from the beginning,” Matheny said. “His velocity looked good. I didn’t see him favor (the ankle) at all. ... It was just one of those days.”
The Cubs took the lead for good on Dexter Fowler’s leadoff homer in the first. Fowler’s two-run double made it 3-0 in the second, and Chicago added five more in the third.
Anthony Rizzo’s RBI double and Miguel Montero’s run-scoring single made it 5-0 and ended Lynn’s outing. Addison Russell’s three-run homer against Seth Maness made it 8-0.
“Whenever you’re down, it’s definitely not easy. That’s for sure,” Lynn said. “But it happens sometimes. Sometimes they (teammates) picks you up, sometimes they don’t. I put us in such a big hole that it was hard to even think that it was possible to get out of. You can’t do that as a starting pitcher
“I just didn’t have any command. The ball was all over the place. Early on, I was in the middle of the zone. Then when I started making pitches, they were already locked in and I couldn’t do anything about it. I have to be better early on.”
Lynn has made two miserable starts in his last five outings. On Aug. 13, he allowed seven first-inning runs (three earned) in a 10-5 loss to Pittsburgh.
Matheny delayed Lynn’s start to enable the pitcher’s right ankle to recover. Lynn suffered a mild sprain while working on a shutout in the eighth inning against San Francisco on Aug. 29.
Lynn said the ankle has felt fine and he was ready to pitch on his regular turn Friday against Pittsburgh, but the training staff advised Matheny that extra rest could help Lynn.
“I threw a bullpen like I was getting ready to pitch for Friday,” Lynn said, “then I had to throw another one again Friday to get ready for this one. It was a different routine than I’ve had all year.”
Lynn’s next start will be Saturday in Cincinnati, meaning that between Aug. 30 and then, a period of 13 days, he will have pitched just 2 1/3 innings.
“I need to get myself going here and get back on the track that I was on before this start when I was in San Francisco and I was throwing the ball pretty well,” Lynn said. “Hopefully, I can get back going in that direction.”
Former Cardinal Dan Haren threw seven shutout innings for the Cubs, who registered their 17th shutout of the season, second in the National League to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 19.
Monday was the Cubs’ most lopsided shutout of the Cardinals since a 10-0 decision on Sept. 7, 1981 – exactly 34 years earlier. Chicago has just two shutouts in St. Louis since 1997.
The Cardinals (87-50), meanwhile, have dropped four of their last five, with three of the losses coming by scores of 9-3, 7-1 and 9-0. They still lead second-place Pittsburgh by 5 1/2 games.
“We realize those are going to happen,” Matheny said. “I think we have to really be honest in our evaluation today. There are times we’ve had some sloppy play. That’s not the case today. I think we’ve been so accustomed to seeing that starting pitching so locked down that when we don’t see it, it just looks extremely odd.
“We got roughed up maybe a little bit early, but that was it. It’s going to happen from time to time. We just can’t make too much of it and keep playing the game.”
Matheny downplayed the three one-sided losses.
“We can draw any conclusions we want to draw over the last few days – or you can – but we’re not,” Matheny said. “Today it didn’t work. We didn’t do what we needed to do. We get a chance to do it tomorrow.”