Waino, Wacha, Wonderful. Lynn? Not so much.

Adam Wainwright pitched masterfully in the season opener. Michael Wacha did the same in the second game of the series. Then came Lance Lynn. The much maligned Lynn may not have the overall performance some would like to see out of him, but with him on the mound the offense usually finds a way to win baseball games. That can’t be argued.

Lynn and Wainwright, now at 34 wins, remain tied as the winningest NL pitchers since the start of the 2012 season. However their paths to get there are vastly different.

Wainwright has a 3.34 ERA over 67 starts and a 111 ERA+.

Lynn has a 3.90 ERA over 63 starts and a 95 ERA+, just below average.

The cries to replace Lynn have already resounded, especially after the Reds scored 3 runs during the first inning on him, but he did rebound nicely as he threw four more shutout innings. No doubt Lynn needs to step it up and be more consistent of a pitcher, but he is on the mound when the team wins baseball games. That may not count for much, but it should count for something as wins are all that matters. As long as they do, I’m not inclined to move him out of the rotation.

Braun receives standing ovation in Milwaukee

Ryan Braun received a standing ovation from Milwaukee Brewers fans on their Opening Day on Monday. It was met with laughter on social media from fans outside of Milwaukee. Why would you cheer for a guy who lied about PED use the first time, ruined the reputation of a sample collector, and then missed a large portion of last season because of his connection to PEDs.

While many fans laughed at the concept of it, writers had a field day with it. It illustrated to me the divide that there is between the media and the fans. The writers and media like to think the glory days of baseball, before the PED bubble burst in the early 2000s, was perfect and devoid of cheats. Everyone played the game “the right way.” But they didn’t. Players have been using everything they can find in attempts to gain an edge from amphetamines to cocaine to cork to nail files. It’s no surprise they looked to medical science for an edge.

The response to Braun really underscores the concept in my mind that it’s really only the sports media that is holding on to vile contempt for PED users. Most fans, while they may not like the fact that PEDs are now a part of the game, they have grown to reluctantly accept it. Even Cardinals fans have accepted it now that we have our own playing shortstop.

I’m not sure what people expected Brewers fans to do anyway. They are stuck with Braun through at least the 2020 season. So they’re going to have to deal with him for a long time to come. What it comes down to is that he is their cheater. As long as he can be productive and contribute to a successful Brewers team, they don’t care what he did or how he did it.

One game down, blasters on full

Yes it may be just the first game of the season and there are still 161 more to play. And maybe he was just playing around a little bit, seeing how it would work. However, anyone who follows me on this blog, through the Cards Clubhouse, and listens to my takes on UCB Radio knows that my biggest issue with Mike Matheny has been his bullpen management. Of course, I used to complain about Tony La Russa’s too, so he is in good company.

Yesterday evening the Cardinals roll into the 8th inning with a 1-0 lead thanks to a solo shot by Yadier Molina off Johnny Cueto. With Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce coming up to bat.

Matheny brought in Pat Neshek to face Phillips. Neshek, making his first regular season appearance with the Cardinals, made the discussion as a “righty specialist” during spring training. Last year he held right handed hitters to a .219/.282/.362 slash line while getting lit up by left handers. Neshek eventually walked Phillips on 7 pitches. [click to continue…]

Cardinals set the 2014 Opening Day roster

The St. Louis Cardinals have made clear the final moves that the team will make to craft this year’s Opening Day roster. They left Memphis last night with 26 players as they headed to Cincinnati for Monday afternoon’s game.

Keith Butler, Daniel Descalso, and Shane Robinson won their respective roster battles for the last bullpen spot, the last infield bench spot, and the last outfield bench spot.

Pete Kozma, who will travel with the team to Cincinnati while they continue to check on Mark Ellis‘ knee, will turn around and catch up with Memphis if Ellis doesn’t require a trip to the disabled list. [click to continue…]

UCB Radio: March 26, 2014

Kevin Reynolds and I are back on the air with tonight’s UCB Radio. We talk about the fifth starter “competition,” the bullpen setup, the Aardsma signing, and how Jon wants to trade Pete Kozma for Miguel Cabrera.