It's probably safe to assume that Lance Lynn has solidified himself as part of the Cardinals' rotation going forward.
Lynn will try to become the first St. Louis hurler to win his first six starts of the season in 18 years this evening in the opener of a three-game series versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Inserted into the starting five when Chris Carpenter opened the season on the disabled list because of a right shoulder injury, Lynn become the National League's first five-game winner last Wednesday when he held Pittsburgh to a pair of runs on three hits and one walk over 6 2/3 innings. That was actually a season high for the righty, who had given up just a single run in each of his first four outings.
Lynn also struck out six against the Pirates to give him 30 through 33 2/3 innings, but isn't taking too much stock in his 5-0 start.
"It means we have five wins when I'm pitching, so that's good," Lynn told St. Louis' website. "All I'm trying to do is help us win when I'm out there."
Lynn, who turns 25 on Saturday, looks to become the first Cards hurler to win his first six starts to begin a season since Bob Tewksbury in 1994 and makes his eighth career start. It will be his first versus the Diamondbacks, who he has faced twice before in relief, striking out three over three scoreless frames.
Lynn will also be aiming to pick up his first career win against a team outside of the NL Central when he battles the Diamondbacks, who counter with their own quick-starting hurler in Joe Saunders.
The 30-year-old lefty has produced a 1.24 earned run average through his first five starts, but is just 2-1. After throwing a three-hit shutout to beat the Marlins on April 27, Saunders did not factor into a 5-4 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and two walks over 6 1/3 frames, with his third-inning run allowed snapping his career-best 15-inning scoreless streak.
Saunders has faced the Cardinals only once before, picking up a win on July 7 of last season. He hurled five scoreless innings of one-hit ball, walking four before having his outing ended early following a rain delay.
Saunders will try to prevent the Cardinals from picking up a second straight win this evening after they snapped a three-game slide with Sunday's 8-1 victory at Houston. Tyler Greene powered St. Louis to a win in the finale of a three-game set, logging two homers in a game for the first time while also driving in a career-high four runs.
"Tyler had a great day, driving that ball off the wall in right-center, and then showing the power to right," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It was just a great day for him."
Allen Craig added a homer and had three RBI, giving him seven runs batted in over the four games since coming off the 15-day disabled list. Adam Wainwright moved to 10-1 in his career versus Houston, scattering a run and seven hits over seven innings
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, return home after losing four of the final five contests of a 10-game road trip to finish the swing at .500. They were bested 3-1 in New York on Sunday and did not plate their run until Justin Upton's double in the ninth brought home Gerardo Parra.
However, Jason Kubel flew out, Paul Goldschmidt went down on strikes and Miguel Montero made the final out with his fly ball to the warning track in right field.
"I think we're playing pretty good ball, but we're just coming up short," said Arizona starter Trevor Cahill, who gave up three runs over seven innings to suffer the loss.
The Cardinals won four of seven over the Diamondbacks last season, taking two of three in Arizona in a series in which the teams combined for 51 runs.