The St. Louis Cardinals' new pitching strategy still depends on Lance Lynn's fastball velocity

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals are departing from Dave Duncan orthodoxy.

Derrick Goold's revelation, Wednesday, that the St. Louis Cardinals are now preaching the four-seam fastball up in the zone in addition to the two-seam Duncan-ball down is—and I'm only exaggerating a little, here—the most monumental easing of tensions in the history of team/blog-fanbase relations. It's Versailles without Woodrow Wilson. It's Anthony Reyes shaking Kent Bottenfield's hand. And it's one reason fewer to worry about Lance Lynn in 2013. (You should read the article, is what I'm saying.)

Lance Lynn even says exactly what we want Lance Lynn to say in it:

"Remember the year I had in Triple-A when I couldn't get anybody out in the first half? I couldn't stop giving up hits," Lynn said. "Just because they tell you you're a sinkerballer or this is a sinkerballer organization, that's not what everyone is. ... I can elevate. I can sink it. That's two things that (the hitters) have to worry about. The high fastball in the right situation and to the right guy is a good pitch.

So Lance Lynn said all that, warmed my strikeout-loving heart, and then didn't pitch especially well. Did he throw high, put-away fastballs? He sure did.

Did they put batters away? Less frequently than you'd like. The Cardinals gave him the go-ahead and he let loose with 20 four-seamers in 27 first-inning pitches, three of which topped 92 miles per hour.

Complaining about strategy is fun, because it's one of the few constructive outlets for frustration we have, as baseball fans. We see a couple of options, with clear costs and benefits; we try to analyze them; and we complain, some more, when the manager or pitching coach or GM inevitably picks the one we don't want.

It's fun precisely because it's limited like that. Discussing strategy, we can restrict ourself to the Platonic Lance Lynn, who stopped throwing his sinker back in Memphis and became a hard-throwing strikeout pitcher. We can marvel at the sheer commonsensical level-headedness that leads to allowing pitchers to go for a strikeout when they're in a position to do that, and go for a groundout when they aren't.

But eventually that's all subject to performance and ability. Lance Lynn's high fastball is more effective at 93.96, his average velocity last year, than at 91.98, what he averaged last night. Whiteyball is a fun strategy, but eventually you've got to have more Vince Colemans than John Mabrys to enact it.

The encouraging thing about the Cardinals' newfound appreciation for the four-seamer up in the zone isn't the pitch itself, much as I love it. It's that the Cardinals have a bunch of pitchers who can throw it, and have decided to let them throw it.

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