Cardinals’ leftie Tyler Lyons was recalled on Monday as infielder Greg Garcia was optioned to AA Springfield. The move comes a day after a Cardinals 7-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies in which starter Justin Masterson again struggled.
Masterson went just three innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and two walks. Masterson has now given up at least four earned in four of his five starts since being traded to the Cardinals. His season ERA is now at 7.43, easily the worst among qualifying pitchers.
Manager Mike Matheny has yet to make an announcement about Masterson’s next scheduled start, but the move to recall Tyler Lyons may be an inclination towards the organizations plans to try someone else in the spot. Lyons hasn’t been greatly successful during his stints with the Cardinals, but the leftie has strung together a few quality starts here and there. Lyons will be making his third appearance with the Cardinals this season, where he has compiled an 0-3 record with a 5.46 ERA. Lyons ERA in Memphis is also very high this season, at 4.43, but he has battled all season and managed a 8-2 record, including a six game winning streak that ended a week ago.
Even if Lyons is not the answer for the Cardinals, it may be time to give rookie Carlos Martinez another shot as starting. Martinez was sent down to AAA Memphis earlier this season after struggles with stamina and made two starts in the PCL. During those two starts Martinez struckout seven, while walking just one, and working ten scoreless innings. If Martinez is able to improve against left-handed batters and able to pitch at least six innings, Masterson’s spot on the roster may be in doubt.
Masterson is a free agent after the season and has undoubtedly hurt his own stock with his poor performance this season. As a groundball pitcher, Masterson’s command has been a huge issue this season. Masterson threw just eight first pitch strikes to the seventeen batters he faced on Sunday and has a career low 1.68 K/BB this season.
With his future hanging in the balance, it will be an uphill climb for Masterson. At this point, it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals using him in any important situations or many teams signing the veteran to a long-term contract this offseason.