The St. Louis Cardinals have enjoyed a string of solid starting pitching performances lately, though they haven’t always supplied enough run support to make them stand up.
They’ll try to wake up their bats and back Tyler Lyons with some offense in his season debut in Monday night’s opener of a four-game with the New York Mets at Citi Field.
St. Louis (11-8) rode good starting pitching to its fourth World Series appearance in 10 years last season, leading the majors with 77 wins by starters and ranking second with a 3.42 collective ERA.
The Cardinals rotation again appears to be among the best in baseball with a 2.29 ERA, including a sparkling 0.61 mark over the club’s last seven games. But they’re 4-3 in that stretch with a combined four runs in the three losses. St. Louis hitters struck out a season high-tying 12 times in Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Washington, largely wasting starter Shelby Miller’s 5 1-3 scoreless innings.
Making the start Monday will be Lyons (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who is being recalled from Triple-A Memphis to fill the spot created due to Joe Kelly’s hamstring injury. Lyons, a left-hander, went 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 games – eight starts – as a rookie for the Cardinals in 2013 and is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts for Memphis this year.
"We just hope he can carry that momentum forward here Monday," manager Mike Matheny told the team’s website. "He did a great job for us when he got the opportunity last year. And we go with that hot hand."
Lyons will have to try to slow down David Wright, who is hitting .380 with eight RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak for the Mets (9-9) after going 4 for 6 in Sunday’s 4-3, 14-inning victory against Atlanta. Wright is also batting .452 over his last eight games versus St. Louis.
A shift to the No. 2 spot in the order Sunday didn’t seem to snap Curtis Granderson’s early-season funk, though he did record the game-winning sacrifice fly. He was 0 for 6 to fall to 0 for 16 over his last four games.
"Can’t help but not hear them," Granderson said of the negative crowd reaction after hitting .127 in his first 17 games with the Mets, who signed him to a $60 million, four-year deal in December.
"I haven’t given them anything to cheer about," he said.
However, he could get going against the Cardinals considering that he’s reached base in all 12 career matchups with them while batting .460 with eight extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. Granderson, though, hasn’t faced St. Louis since 2009.
New York gives the nod to Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81), who has enjoyed a surprisingly successful start to the season after entering with a 2-6 record and 4.53 ERA in 11 career starts. A torn blister on his finger caused him to leave Tuesday’s 9-0 win at Arizona after five shutout innings, though it isn’t expected to be a serious concern.
Mejia threw three scoreless innings against the Cardinals over two relief appearances in 2010.
Yadier Molina is hitting .400 during an 11-game hitting streak, while Matt Adams and Jon Jay are a combined 18 for 45 (.400) while hitting safely in each of the team’s last six games.
Daniel Murphy is hitting .450 over his last 10 games versus St. Louis.
The Cardinals took five of seven between the teams last year and have won eight of the last 11.