"I just start aiming down the middle and hope for the best, really," Lynn said of when his fastball command isn't there. "You let the movement work, and I knew I had good velocity, so when runners got on I tried to get ahead."
That's how it's been for St. Louis pitching this season. Whether relying on skill, throwing the ball down the middle or whatever it may be, their staff continues to put up historically dominant numbers. After Lynn's performance on Friday, the Cardinals haven't allowed a run since the fourth inning of Wednesday's 13-inning victory over the Reds, haven't surrendered a home run in 52 consecutive innings and lowered their combined ERA to 2.60.
If the Cardinals were to finish the season with a 2.60 ERA, it would be the best since 1972, when the O's posted a 2.53 and the A's finished with a 2.58.
"It's impressive," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "What's impressive is you look at them, and then you look at who's behind them [the Pirates at 3.18] and there's a gap. You know going in it's going to be a low-scoring game for you to win."
Lynn's productivity on the mound extends to his starts against Milwaukee, too. The right-hander beat the Brewers for the eighth time in 18 career games (14 starts) on Friday, and he has allowed one run or fewer in nine of those starts. Among active pitchers who have made at least 10 starts against Milwaukee, only Jake Peavy (2.26) and fellow Cardinal Adam Wainwright (2.32) have a better ERA than Lynn's 2.36.
Despite the zero runs on the scoreboard for the Brewers, manager Mike Matheny agreed with Lynn about lacking command and that his pitcher wasn't at the top of his game, suggesting there's room to be even better.
"He came up with a bunch of zeros, but it was not, I think, the kind of good you expect to see from him," Matheny said. "Once again, if he's keeping us in games when he's not sharp, and able to go up there and throw zeros against a hot offense, that's impressive to think about once he gets it all clicking again."
Brandon Curry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.