Joe Kelly Gets The Nod As St. Louis Cardinals’ No. 5 Starter

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that didn’t take very long.

Though the St. Louis Cardinals could have taken their sweet time deciding on what to do about the team’s vacant no. 5 starter spot considering they had three off-days coming up in the next two weeks (including a pair in the coming week), skipper Mike Matheny decided that earlier is better when it came to settling the matter:

https://twitter.com/RobRains/status/348557784717082625

This, of course, meant the end of the Tyler Lyons experiment (for now) after the the 25-year-old gave up at least four runs in each of his last four outings, with his latest being a 1.2 IP, four-run implosion that sent his ERA towards an un-Cardinals-like 5.51.

You could say that Joe Kelly is a natural choice here as he does have 16 starts worth of experience from 2012, and has already made a spot start in 2013 earlier in June where he allowed just two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk over 5.2 innings in a losing effort against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Plus, thanks to Lyons’ latest disappointment on the mound, the righty is already coming off a 77-pitch relief performance where he shut the Texas Rangers down through five scoreless innings, so his arm will be prepared for the workload when needed.

As for how he might actually do in the no. 5 starter role once he actually gets the ball for a few turns though, might have a bit of a dodgier answer.

See, although he was quite good in his short stint as a reliever in 2012 (2.30/1.21 ERA/WHIP, 4.00 K/BB, .246 BAA over 15.2 innings), the same cannot be said about his 91.1 innings as a starter (3.74/1.41 ERA/WHIP, 1.84 K/BB, .272 BAA). This season, Kelly had been mostly a disappointment leading up to June, and is still carrying a 4.78/1.63 ERA/WHIP with a .324 BAA as a reliever.

He’s no doubt has his good outings, but one doesn’t have to be much of a pessimist to think that having to potentially dial his stuff down to starter levels might not lead to the most desirable outlook considering the troubles he’s had in relief.

With plenty on options in the team’s league-best system (even Chris Carpenter recently cleared to resume throwing … though that’s still a ways away), Kelly will have little time to waste to show that the success he’s had in June can be further translated into a starting role.

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