This time around, Tyler Lyons hopes he can stick.
Lyons, who has been up and down with the St. Louis Cardinals the last two seasons, will make his season debut at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday when he pitches against the Chicago Cubs.
“Every time you come up here, you hope to learn something or get comfortable with whatever it is you’re trying to do,” said Lyons, who is 2-8 with a 4.62 ERA in 23 games and 12 starts. “Being my third season up here, hopefully I’ve picked up enough along the way. I kind of know what to expect. Hopefully, I’ll translate that to the game.”
Lyons, 27, will be the second new starter to fill the void created by the season-ending injury to Adam Wainwright. Rookie Tim Cooney was ineffective Thursday afternoon during his audition, although the Cardinals defeated Philadelphia 9-3.
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Lyons, who will be activated Tuesday, is coming off a strong start for Class AAA Memphis against Round Rock. He threw eight shutout innings last Tuesday when he permitted six hits, walked one and struck out six to improve to 2-1. He lowered his ERA to 2.91.
“For me, it’s about establishing my fastball, being able to get ahead and control counts and being able to get to my secondary stuff,” Lyons said. “When I’ve been successful, at whatever level, it’s usually because of that, and when I’ve failed at whatever level, it’s because of that. I think I’ve figured out what I have to do to be successful. Now I just have to go out and do it.”
Lyons said his performance against Round Rock was his best by the numbers, but didn’t equate it to feeling any better than he has since his first start April 12.
“All year, I’ve felt pretty good,” he said. “Definitely, my last time I felt really good. I was able to execute pitches. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily the best stuff I’ve had, but I was able to go out there and make pitches and control counts, like I’ve talked about.”
Lyons was among the first cuts in spring training. He not only was behind fellow left-handers Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales on the depth chart, but when he did pitch, he was ineffective. He worked in three games and allowed seven runs (earned) on nine hits for an ERA of 12.60.
“At the end of the day, I wasn’t pitching very well, and at that time, we started running out of innings,” Lyons said. “The starters started going longer each outing. At that point, for me personally, I’ve got to get out there and pitch. Going down like that ... Obviously, you never want to get sent down, but as far as getting ready for the season, I think that was necessary.”
Catcher Yadi Molina was not in the lineup Monday, as he gave way to Tony Cruz. Molina began Monday in a 3-for-29 slump that had dropped his average to .231.
“He’s been grinding,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s one of those good opportunities, too, for everyone to realize how much he does behind the scenes outside the offensive statistics, keeping us in games. He did a great job keeping that (pitching) staff together in some big situations.”
Molina played all 35 innings of the weekend series against Pittsburgh, which the Cardinals swept. The games went 10 innings, 11 innings and 14 innings.
Even so, Matheny said he met resistance from Molina when he told the catcher he wasn’t starting in the series opener against the Cubs.
“He’s a guy that likes to be out there,” Matheny said. “There are days when maybe he doesn’t agree, but we walk our way through it. Today is one of those days. He wants to play; the guy loves to play the game. We want him to be out there. I want (players) to want to be in there.”
Hall of Fame electees
The Cardinals on Monday announced four new inductees into their Hall of Fame.
Catcher Ted Simmons and pitcher Bob Forsch were voted in by the fans, who also considered Steve Carlton, Keith Hernandez, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria and Joe Torre.
The Red Ribbon Committee elected center fielder Curt Flood, while the organization selected George Kissell for enshrinement.
Simmons, 65, played for the Cardinals from 1968-80, batting .298 with 172 home runs and 929 RBIs in 1,564 games. The switch-hitter also played for the Milwaukee Brewers (five seasons) and Atlanta Braves (three seasons), retiring at the end of the 1988 season.
Forsch, who died in 2011, was 163-127 with a 3.67 ERA from 1974-88. He closed his career by pitching parts of two seasons with the Houston Astros. Forsch pitched no-hitters in 1978 against Philadelphia and in 1983 against the Montreal Expos.
Flood, who died in 1997, batted .293 in 1,738 games with the Cardinals from 1958-69. He is remembered for challenging the reserve clause in baseball, a precursor to free agency.
Kissell spent 69 years with the Cardinals as a minor-league player, manager and coach until his death at age 88 in 2008.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 15 at Ballpark Village.