Lyons has earned the chance to remain the team's fifth starter, even though the Cardinals are winless in his three spot starts. The lefty has allowed seven earned runs over those 18 innings. Trouble is, he has been supported by only two from his own offense.
Yet results aside, the early returns show a pitcher improved from when he was called upon to fill a rotation vacancy last season. Lyons credits that growth mostly to strides he has made on the mental side.
"I wouldn't say physically I'm this or that better," Lyons said. "I think it's just controlling the game a little bit better from the mindset standpoint and trying to slow it down. I thought that was something I learned at the end of last year, even when I was pitching in relief here and there. It's something I'm trying to take over into this year."
Specifically, Lyons has made it a point to take his time. Comfortable working quickly from pitch to pitch, Lyons has a tendency to speed up even more when the situation gets more precarious. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist pointed that out to the lefty recently, encouraging Lyons to do more stepping off the mound or changing the tempo or anything to slow down and focus.
Lyons said he was intentional with that on Tuesday night, when he got into trouble in his final two innings of work. He allowed only one run on three hits in six innings.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.