NLDS Analysis: Matheny Has Kept Jason Motte's Sauce from Being a Factor vs. Nats

Will GrapperhausContributor IIIOctober 12, 2012

Who is that masked man?
Who is that masked man?Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

When talking about the Cardinals' arsenal of power arms in their bullpen, it seems Mike Matheny and even other players have enjoyed mentioning the All-Star 18-game winner they have at their disposal, Lance Lynn.

An All-Star 18-game winner—in their bullpen. What a luxury, they chortle.

To be sure, Lynn has the best pure stuff of any Cardinal hurler who has started for them this season.

At the still-tender age of 25, he has already become a key cog in the Redbirds rotation. His size, plus-stuff and fiery makeup have positioned him to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter for the Cards for the foreseeable future.

Maybe its indicative, however, that Matheny hasn't been talking enough about the guy that tied Craig Kimbrel for the National League lead in saves on the last day of the season. The same guy that, you know, saved five games last year during the Cardinals' postseason run to the championship. 

Who knows? Maybe Matheny has even stopped calling Jason Motte his "closer" out of respect for Tony La Russa.

Whatever the reason, Motte has pitched a grand total of one solitary inning in this NLDS series with the Nationals.

Lynn, on the other hand, has surrendered three home runs in four appearances.

The Cards have their own 100-mph flame-thrower in Trevor Rosenthal, a gutty three-quarters gunslinger in Joe Kelly, a tough setup man in Mitchell Boggs and a shutdown closer in Motte who had piled up 42 saves.

All four righties—heck, even the iffy Fernando Salas—are un-scored upon in the postseason while Lynn now totes a 7.36 ERA.

It's clear that Matheny trusts Lynn a great deal and for the most part it's warranted. Lynn actually pitched very well in Game 2, despite giving up back-to-back homers, to bail out Jaime Garcia, who unwisely decided to start the game with a bum arm.

But the rookie manager better start managing to win rather than to save his top arms for innings that may never come.