Lyons joins Cardinals for crucial series in Pittsburgh

Lyons joins Cardinals for crucial series in Pittsburgh

Credit: Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, PA- APRIL 10: A general view of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates on the baselines during the national anthem on April 10, 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)


by Mike Bailey / BaseballStL | @MikeBailey4

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 25 at 4:27 PM

PITTSBURGH - Tyler Lyons returned to the St. Louis Cardinals in time for Monday’s game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the start of a crucial three-game series between two teams pushing for a spot in the post-season.

Yadier Molina and Michael Wacha head to AA for rehab work. Details here.

Although Lyons struggled in his previous Cardinal appearances (0-3, 5.46 ERA), he found his rhythm at Triple A Memphis, going 8-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 14 starts. 

“I felt like everything was synching up kind of nicely,” he said. “I feel strong, I feel good.”

The move gives the Cards 13 pitchers on the roster and shores up a bullpen that threw 13 innings over the past two days. The Cards now have four lefties in the pen (Sam Freeman, Randy Choate, Nick Greenwood and Lyons).

Greenwood is likely out of the mix having thrown three innings in Philadelphia Sunday in long relief, something that Mike Matheny has pegged Lyons for. 

“We need some coverage. He’s got the ability obviously to go pretty deep for us,” The manager said. 

The Cards are 7-6 this year against the Pirates but have not played well at PNC Park over the past two years (5-11). Overall, the Redbirds are 67-48 here. All-time, the Cards are 1,083-1,132 against the Bucs.

Tonight’s starting pitcher, John Lackey (12-8, 3.88 ERA), faced the Pirates once in his career, 10 years ago at PNC when he was with the Angels, dropping a 5-3 decision. But Lackey is 2-0 against National League teams since his trade to the Cardinals and has 17 quality starts in his last 25 starts. This marks the 11th consecutive season in which he has thrown 160 innings or more.

Teammate A.J. Pierzynski was his battery mate in every start until July 5, a period during which Lackey was 9-6 and had 12 quality starts. Tony Cruz will be behind the plate Monday. 

Since the All-Star Break, the Pirates are the second-highest scoring team in the National League, tallying 162 runs, second to the Nationals (162).  In fact, the Bucs are fourth overall for the season. 

While the Cards are 30-19 against the Central Division, the Pirates are just 24-31.

Pittsburgh leads the National league in comeback wins (34). 

The Bucs are 40-26 at PNC, second best home record in the National league. But, during the entire month of September, they have just one 9-game homestand, playing the other 17 on the road where they are 27-37 this year.

Pirate attendance continues to outpace last year’s near-record of 2,256,862. The Bucs’ attendance through 66 home games this year is 1,916,650 compared with 1,794,715 last year. 

Who’s hot:

•Oscar Taveras (9-22, 6 game hitting streak and 5-11 in Philadelphia).

•Kolten Wong (4-10 on the road trip, 32 hits since break tied for third on team, hitting .340 with runners in scoring position and two outs)

•Peter Bourjos (4-8, 10th infield hit Saturday night).

Who’s not:

•Tony Cruz (0-12, 0-7 on road trip)

•Matt Adams (2-11 in Philadelphia)

•Matt Holliday, 3-13, .231 in Philadelphia)