ST. LOUIS -- A day after rookie Tyler Lyons delivered another subpar start for the Cardinals, manager Mike Matheny indicated that the club planned to keep Lyons in the rotation and have him make his next scheduled start Friday.
"We're right on track," Matheny said when asked about Lyons' status. "Right now, that's definitely where we're going, and we want him just thinking about his next start, not about all this other stuff."
Lyons allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings against the last-place Marlins on Sunday. It was the third straight so-so outing for the left-hander following his strong first impression in the big league rotation.
Lyons lasted seven innings in each of his first two Major League starts, allowing a combined two runs on six hits in the two wins. In 17 innings since, Lyons has given up 14 earned runs on 22 hits and six walks. Matheny cited pitch execution as Lyons' biggest flaw during this stretch of starts.
"A couple mistakes here and there -- I think he's realizing -- hurt you in this league more than they hurt in the Minor Leagues," Matheny said. "Guys don't miss many mistakes in the middle of the plate when you're in hitters' counts. He's got to control the count. He's got to be able to use his secondary pitches, which we saw stints of that in almost all of his starts. It's just the consistency of those innings."
How long a leash the Cardinals will have with Lyons as their fifth starter remains undetermined. Joe Kelly would seemingly be able to slide into the rotation spot if the Cardinals opt for a change. Michael Wacha, who was optioned to Triple-A on Friday, cannot be recalled for at least 10 days following the move, unless there is an injury. Carlos Martinez, who has recently been stretched back out in the Memphis rotation, would also most likely be in the conversation if another fifth starter was needed.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.