From the start of the season through the end of July, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn was one of MLB's most surprising stories.
In that span, the 25-year-old recorded an outstanding 12-4 record with a 3.10 ERA and 120 strikeouts.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Lynn was having one of the best seasons in baseball. Like most good stories, though, there was a twist.
From his last start in the month of July to six starts later on Aug. 24, Lynn's season took a turn for the worst. He saw his ERA jump up to 3.93 in his last start against the Cincinnati Reds, only lasting two innings.
The Cardinals sent the struggling Lynn to the bullpen, where he saw his once-stellar season decline even further.
But just like every other feel-good story, the hero of the story got a second chance.
For Lynn, that chance came in the form of teammate Jake Westbrook needing to skip a start due to an injury.
In his first start in nearly a month, Lance Lynn was named starter for Thursday night's crucial game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. St. Louis held a one-game lead over L.A. for the second wild-card spot and put its fate in Lynn.
It was a shaky start, though, as Lynn allowed Dodger's leadoff man Mark Ellis on with a single and then followed that up by walking Andre Ethier.
After inducing a ground-ball double play from Matt Kemp, Lynn found himself facing Adrian Gonzalez with a runner on third. Gonzalez got the best of that meeting, scoring Ellis with a double to left-center.
Lynn settled in after that, retiring the next seven men in order. He would go on to allow only three more hits, bringing his game total to five in his six innings pitched. Lynn also struck out seven batters while only walking two.
Lynn and the Cardinals picked up a crucial 2-1 victory, moving him to 15-7 with a 3.93 ERA.
Once Westbrook is good to go, Lynn will more than likely find himself back in the bullpen. If necessary, he could make a start on a moment's notice, judging off his recent performance.
Lynn gives the term "ace up your sleeve" a whole new meaning, and I'm sure the Cardinals will be glad to have just that as they continue their march toward and into the postseason.
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