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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mailbag: Lynn, weak division and trade deadline

Posted Saturday, May 26, 2012, at 5:20 PM

By COREY NOLES

Before wrapping up the week I wanted to get caught up on my mailbag questions. There haven't been a lot this week, so make sure to send in your questions if something has you wondering.

How do you think Lance Lynn will hold up throughout the season? Will he have to make a lot of adjustments, or is his stuff just that good?

Philip L.

Sikeston, Mo.

I think Lynn may struggle some, but in general he will be fine. Pitchers are always making adjustments one way or another and I'm sure he's done plenty of that this season already. As he continues to be more exposed and see teams a second and third time he will have to adjust. He will wear down some, but that kid is tough as nails. His biggest asset, aside from a powerful arsenal of pitches, is his mental stability. I've said it before, but his ability to keep his cool is like few I've ever seen. He was successful in the bullpen, but that stability may help make his case for being a long-term starter.

Why do the national baseball writers and sports networks always call the National League Central division "weak?"

Ryan J.

Anna, Ill.

I've argued against this before, but there is are some strong pieces to the argument.

First, typically only two or three teams are in the running. While it's not always the case, in general, two teams are back and forth for the top slot in the division. Second, the division has several consistently bad teams (Houston, Pittsburgh, Chicago). Third, as a result of point two, Central teams play a lot of games against those struggling teams and some believe that pads their record. With that being said, the Cardinals don't always have huge success against teams like the Pirates so that argument only goes so far. In recent years, the division has been making its case against the "weak" title. While there are still a few bad teams, the good teams have been really good. The Cardinals and Brewers last year had great runs. Cincinnati didn't make the postseason, but they weren't a pushover either. Once Houston moves to the American League, I expect this division to be a bit tougher and maybe help lose the stigma that has for so long been attached to it.

The trade deadline is still two months away, but from what you have seen, what do you expect to see from the Cardinals in late-July?

Ben F.

Perryville, Mo.

The Cardinals will be buyers, but I don't expect any landmark deals. If they stand July 31 as they do today, I would expect them to be on the lookout for left-handed relief and that can get pricey if you want a guy who can actually throw strikes. In terms of offense, if the DL empties up and guys like Beltran, Holliday and Jay are still healthy, I wouldn't look for anything offensive. With that being said, If Greene were to turn completely cold, it's possible they could be on the lookout for a second baseman, but that's a real long shot. The team has a lot of faith in Greene's ability and they don't want to let him go - at least for now. Another possibility is that if the Cardinals were to lose another starter or a reliever, there could be more action than I'm anticipating. The most likely scenario, however, is they will be looking for left-handed help in the bullpen.

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To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com, call (573)624-4545, or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles



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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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