In order for a team to progress to its goals, there are times where organizational depth must take center stage when injuries strike. For the St. Louis Cardinals, that necessity has come early. Though fifth-starter Joe Kelly went down with what seems to be a minor hamstring injury, his spot in the rotation was well cared for by recent call-up Tyler Lyons, who despite taking a loss, was more than solid in his start against the New York Mets on Monday night.
Lyons, a 26-year-old Texan from Lubbock, has over the course of his professional career raised the bar on his fastball from the 87-90 range to 90-93. This is coupled with an average change-up and what the club feels is a plus curveball. Succeeding largely for not trying to do too much, Lyons battled his way through six innings, giving up only two runs on six hits with four walks.
While nobody would call that a dominant performance, a pitcher is tasked with making sure his club stays in the ballgame, and by any definition of the word, Lyons’ performance fit that requirement. If you can keep your ERA under three, limit the free passes and work the corners, you can win which is exactly what Lyons did. Unfortunately, the Cardinals were held in check by early season sensation Jennry Mejia, as the team was shut out 2-0.
Lyons was durable and consistent enough in his approach that his role going forward will likely be spot starter or perhaps even a bookend to super setup man Carlos Martinez. A lefty with a sharp curve is always welcome in a team’s pen, and what team has too many lefty relievers? The Cardinals’ organizational depth took the spotlight on Monday and will have to continue to perform in order to take the pennant in October.