Yes, I know that hindsight is 20/20 and everyone questions a manager after things go wrong, but when Mike Matheny announced that Lance Lynn would start game 2 of the NLDS earlier this week, my first thought was, why Lance Lynn?
Why not Shelby Miller or Joe Kelly or even Michael Wacha?
Joe Kelly would seem to be the logical choice, given that he was the Cardinals best starter in the second half, going 9-2 with a 1.91 ERA, even outperforming Adam Wainwright (7-4, 3.69). However, when you look at his splits, Kelly is the only of those 3 who actually fared better on the road (5-1, 2.07) versus at home (5-4, 3.29), so it makes sense to save him for the first road game of the series.
Which leaves us with either Miller or Wacha as an alternative to Lynn. Miller has pitched very well at home, with a 10-3 record and 1.75 ERA, but his drawback is that he is 0-4 with a 5.32 ERA against the Pirates this year. This likely explains why Matheny decided to go with Lynn over Miller and also why Miller is unlikely to get a start this series.
As for Wacha, he might have been preferable to Lynn in game two. However, he has yet to face the Pirates and Lynn at least went 2-1 against them, despite a 5.60 ERA. Wacha, as it turns out, will start game 4 of the series. This might end up putting a lot of pressure on the youngster, especially if the Cardinals are unable to solve Pedro Liriano in game 3, putting them in a 1-2 hole.
Thus, while some, like myself, would have liked to see how Miller would have done against the Pirates, especially in light of Lynn's struggles in game 2, we can certainly understand the reasoning behind the decision to start Lynn.
Let's just hope Kelly can outduel Liriano on Sunday.