Cards begin NL Central-shaping stretch with Reds -

Cards begin NL Central-shaping stretch with Reds

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(BaseballStL) -- Tyler Lyons has a score to settle with Cincinnati. The young pitcher will get his chance at revenge Monday after the Reds battered him for six hits and in June.

The 25-year-old got the start in place of an injured Jake Westbrook, and Mike Matheny said the youngster has earned the spot. 

"Tyler has been very good this year. He's had a couple nice starts for us as well," he said. "He's earned an opportunity to come out here and help us out."

The lefty-loaded lineup will make for an interesting matchup, as the Reds do not see their production fall off a cliff when facing a lefty, dropping only seven points in average and slugging the exact same. 

"The outings we've seen him be very good, he's controlled the counts," Matheny said of his starter. "He's been making good pitches on both sides using his fastball to establish, then using his secondary. He knows what he has to do."

Control will be paramount Monday night, as the last time Lyons faced the Reds, he faced 22 batters in 5.1 innings and threw 73 pitches. 

With two of the top three teams in the Central facing off for the next 13 straight games, the urgency is increased. 

Matheny said before the game Monday the Cardinals attempt to treat every game like a postseason matchup, in order to make contests like this feel routine. 

"Veterans players on this team know, you have kinda have a responsibility to play the game that way," he said. "It helps break the season down into being as good as you can be every night."

The Cardinals have several players who hit Cincinnati starter Mike Leake well, including Monday's third baseman David Freese.

Freese has been seeing less starts since the call up of second baseman Kolten Wong, and Matheny said his at-bats have looked better since getting time off.

"We need him right. We want him right," the manager said. "He had some good at bats, it seems like he's got some spring in his step a little bit."

Freese is hitting over .500 and has an OPS of 1.495 against Leake.



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