The bad news the St. Louis Cardinals got back in the spring—about Chris Carpenter being out until June, at least—could not, in hindsight, have worked out for them any better: It kept them from wasting Lance Lynn in the bullpen. Lynn, who was solid in an abbreviated bullpen campaign in 2011, was called back to the rotation from whence he'd came and now, through May, leads Major League Baseball with eight wins. And here's the crazy part: His pitching to date hasn't been a fluke, at least not entirely.
This is no Storm Davis 1989 season, at least not entirely; Lynn's eight-strikeout performance on Memorial Day gave him a perfect three-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio, and he's also kept home runs down so far. His ERA—2.54—might be a little lower than those numbers say it should be, but his fielding-independent numbers are all still in the low-3s.
He was sent in to replace Chris Carpenter, but he doesn't quite have Carp's command; what Lance Lynn has done instead is a pretty faithful impression of Adam Wainwright, striking out just under a batter an inning while keeping his walks down at the edges of control-pitcher territory. It's a neat trick, and as long as he can keep doing it the Cardinals will keep him in the rotation.