Cardinals Garcia, Lynn and October

The St. Louis Cardinals may move a rotation member to the bullpen for the post-season. Here, we look at two 28-year-olds, Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn.

In September, two veterans in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, right-hander Lance Lynn and lefty Jaime Garcia, have not pitched as well as earlier in the year.

In his last three starts, Lynn has really struggled, going 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA, having allowed 12 earned runs on a whopping 11 walks in 11 2/3 innings. His only ok outing of the three was the middle one. At Cincinnati on the 12th, Lynn allowed three runs on four hits over six innings, a quality start. Yet the offense managed just one run and Lynn took the loss.

Garcia has fared better, with a 2-1 record and a 4.01 ERA in his four September outings. He had two rough road starts at Cincinnati and Milwaukee before tossing seven innings of one-run ball at the Reds at home on Monday.

Lynn badly needs one of those kinds of outings Wednesday night versus those same Reds.

With the regular season running out and the playoffs assured, speculation has intensified as to the October rotation order – and who might be left out if the team uses just four starters.

John Lackey has been the most dependable starter, with the 23-year-olds – Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha – at different places, but both also down from their prior levels of performance. Martinez has a 3.65 ERA this month (four starts), with Wacha scuffling at 7.20 (three starts).

At this point, Garcia would appear to be among the October starters, and one might think that Lynn has earned it based on his long-term performance - but only if he can right his recent slide.

With Lynn and Garcia the same age, 28, and with a similar number of career starts, I thought it would be interesting to compare their careers to date.

Reg season Age Starts Relief Inn W L Pct ERA BB/9 K/9
Lynn 28 125 22 775.1 60 38 0.612 3.42 3.3 8.8
Garcia 28 115 9 712.1 51 31 0.622 3.32 2.6 7.1

The regular season results above are fairly similar. Their playoff profiles are also comparable in ERA and with Lynn continuing to both walk and strike out more batters than Garcia. Yet a major difference is that Lynn has October relief experience that Garcia does not.

Playoffs   Starts Relief Inn W L Pct ERA BB/9 K/9
Lynn   7 16 51 5 4 0.556 4.41 4.4 8.5
Garcia   6 0 27.2 0 2 0.000 4.23 3.6 7.8

If Lynn’s September performance does not decide his October rotation fate, his bullpen experience from 2011-2013 could become the tipping point.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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