Game 4 starter Lynn a Game 1 relief option

Well-rested righty made available out of 'pen, but wasn't needed in Cardinals' win

Game 4 starter Lynn a Game 1 relief option

ST. LOUIS -- Not scheduled to start until a potential Game 4 of the National League Division Series (Tuesday on TBS), Cardinals righty Lance Lynn was made available out of the team's bullpen in Friday's 4-0 Game 1 win over the Cubs.

The addition gave manager Mike Matheny an eight-pitcher 'pen to utilize behind starter John Lackey, though Matheny's preference was to avoid having to call on Lynn. He didn't have to, as Lackey went 7 1/3 scoreless innings and two relievers finished off a three-hit shutout.

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"I feel like we have some pretty good coverage, and you don't necessarily want to force that if it doesn't have to happen," Matheny explained before the game. "You're looking at a guy pitching in a situation he hasn't been thrown into all year, and how it could possibly affect when he does get his chance [to start]. I'd do it if we had to, but that's not a place we're going to go to right out of the box."

Game Date Results
Gm 1 Oct. 9 STL 4, CHC 0
Gm 2 Oct. 10 CHC 6, STL 3
Gm 3 Oct. 12 CHC 8, STL 6
Gm 4 Oct. 13 CHC 6, STL 4

Lynn is fresh, having last pitched on Sunday, when he went five innings in a 79-pitch start against the Braves. His next scheduled start is at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, if a Game 4 is necessary.

Pitching in relief is not an unfamiliar task for the right-hander. Seven of Lynn's 23 postseason appearances have come in relief, including his first 14.

The Cardinals don't necessarily need the length Lynn could provide out of the 'pen because of their decision to carry Carlos Villanueva on the roster. Villanueva, who filled a long-man role all season, will likely be held back for such spots in October, Matheny indicated. Having Villanueva available for multiple innings will allow the Cardinals to deploy lefty Tyler Lyons more liberally. During the regular season, Lyons, too, was often used when there was a multiple-inning need.

"I like us having that, having someone on the backside who can do whatever we need or in the middle do whatever we need," Matheny said of Villanueva. "Tyler has been stretched out to go long at the end or come in and pitch to some tough lefties and not really worry about if they pinch-hit a righty. I think what Carlos allows us to do is be aggressive as we want to with Tyler. We'll see how those roles work."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.