It’s been a brutal season for the Cardinals bullpen. The final nail in the coffin came on Wednesday when it was announced closer Trevor Rosenthal will have to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.
Meanwhile, Kevin Siegrist is still rehabbing, Matt Bowman has been worn out, Mike Mayers has been demoted, and Seung-Hwan Oh has struggled terribly.
This can mean only one thing: it’s Tyler Lyons time to shine.
It may not sound right, and granted, it does sound a little… out of place. But Lyons has been one of the best performing relievers on one of baseball’s worst bullpens during 2017.
This year, Lyons has pitched in 35 games, thrown 40 innings, and has a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA. He also has struck out 48 batters, and notched one save. He’s on pace to have a career-low ERA (his current lowest is 3.38, set last year). The five-year veteran has a career 8-9 record and 3.82 ERA.
There’s also John Brebbia in the bullpen, who has shown flashes of success, but Lyons has been in the league (all with St. Louis) for much longer, and has more to prove. In Wednesday’s 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres, Lyons threw a scoreless eighth inning for the Cardinals.
With September coming up and the Cardinals in third place in the National League Central, time is not on their side. The bullpen has not been their biggest strength, and perhaps it’s been their biggest weakness. Lyons has the chance to help change that.