St. Louis Cardinals: Time to install a new closer already on the team

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 01: Tyler Lyons
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 01: Tyler Lyons /

The St. Louis Cardinals are without an official closer thanks to an injury for one and poor closing performance for another. Hope isn’t lost, though, as the next closer is already on the squad.

In recent games, the St. Louis Cardinals have used different arms out of the pen to serve as closer in the absence of Trevor Rosenthal whose season has finished thanks to Tommy John surgery. Rosenthal had filled the gap created by the slumping Seung-hwan Oh. And, in all honesty, the arms put out to close games may illustrate who should fill this role moving forward.

I am not alone in urging that Mike Matheny find a new closer and am not alone in suggesting two names already in the St. Louis Cardinals pen: Tyler Lyons and John Brebbia. Both of these arms have seen action closing games of late which begs that Cardinals Nation take a deep look at these arms.

Starting with Tyler Lyons, the young left-handed pitcher has provided enormous appearances of late from the pen. Here’s a look at his past month’s appearances:

2017 Pitching Gamelog
2898106Aug 1STL@MILL,2-37-811.100012003.27420113301000000103000000.740.0600.776.4010.007b — 0 out d18b — 1 out d1
2999110Aug 5STL@CINW,4-18-8H(7)31.000003003.18316136200000000003000000.700.0540.528.2512.008b — 0 out a38b 3 out a3
30100114Aug 9STLKCRW,8-58-8H(8)30.100000003.151421001000100001000000.610.0180.230.751.008t 1– 2 out a38t 3 out a3
31101115Aug 10STLKCRW,8-67-7W(1-0)00.200001003.09212822010001000020000002.170.1230.697.5017.007t -2- 1 out tie7t 3 out tie
32102117Aug 12STLATLW,6-57-8H(9)12.000022002.92829176322010000006000000.940.1151.027.3012.007t — 0 out a28t 3 out a3
33103120Aug 16STL@BOSL,4-58-8H(10)31.000011002.84312641100000000020001001.850.0980.563.656.008b — 0 out a28b 3 out a2
34104121Aug 17STL@PITW,11-78-8H(11)01.010000002.773141120122000000030001001.750.0910.511.653.008b — 0 out a28b 3 out a2
35105126Aug 23STLSDPW,6-28-851.000002002.70320134101010100003000000.680.0601.436.259.008t –3 0 out a48t 3 out a4
36106127Aug 24STLSDPL,3-48-801.000021012.636271551110100010030000003.180.1080.512.456.008t — 0 out tie8t 3 out tie
37107129Aug 26STLTBRW,6-49-GFW(2-0)11.000002002.57312934100000000030000001.820.1390.5110.2521.009t — 0 out tie9t end tie
38108133Aug 31STL@SFGW,5-28-841.000000002.5131052021000000003000000.370.0280.502.253.008b — 0 out a48b 3 out a4
39109134Sep 1STL@SFGW,11-68-8W(3-0)01.000002002.453161124010000000030000001.410.1070.5010.2521.008b — 0 out tie8b 3 out tie
40110135Sep 2STL@SFGL,1-29-9H(12)00.111100002.6427511200000000010000004.44-0.081-0.18-1.85-2.009b — 0 out a19b -2- 1 out a1

The St. Louis Cardinals, by the way, hold a record of 24-16 when Lyons appears in games. To the question of closing, Lyons has appeared in late innings over the past month or so and illustrated that he can shut the door on these innings.

While only appearing in a few 9th innings, his body of work illustrates that he could and should be given the chance to perform as a closer.

On to Brebbia… This young right-handed pitcher has been amazing since joining the St. Louis Cardinals in May of this season. He is carrying a respectable 2.25 ERA through 40 innings pitched. Unlike Lyons, however, the St. Louis Cardinals are 14-23 in games when Brebbia appears.

Here’s a look at Brebbia’s past month:

2017 Pitching Gamelog
2323106Aug 1STL@MILL,2-36-621.000001001.37415102312100000004000000.690.0490.524.256.006b — 0 out d16b 3 out d1
2424107Aug 2STL@MILW,5-48-8H(2)00.222201102.004111014032000000041000001.57-0.111-1.59-1.70-1.008b — 0 out a38b — 2 out a1
2525111Aug 6STL@CINW,13-47-832.011102102.17732214423100000007000000.010.0010.045.909.007b — 0 out a108b 3 out a9
2626113Aug 8STL@KCRW,10-39-GF11.000002002.10317102401000000003000000.020.0020.546.259.009b — 0 out a79b end a 7
2727116Aug 11STLATLW,8-56-7H(3)21.000010002.034181122210000000030000001.490.0680.381.653.006t — 2 out a17t 1– 2 out a1
2828118Aug 13STLATLL,3-69-GF11.021101002.25522163322100000005010000.17-0.033-0.491.053.009t — 0 out d29t end d 3
2929119Aug 15STL@BOSL,4-107-711.000002002.183983001000000003000000.020.0010.566.259.007b — 0 out d77b 3 out d7
3030120Aug 16STL@BOSL,4-59-GFBS(1)00.110000002.16210601021102200021000006.98-0.650-1.380.151.009b 12- 1 out a19b end d 1
3131123Aug 19STL@PITL,4-68-GF(8)21.000001002.10314124302010000003000000.080.0070.514.256.008b — 0 out d38b end d 3
3232124Aug 20STL@PITL,3-68-GF(8)01.000001002.04317123211000000003000000.080.0070.514.256.008b — 0 out d38b end d 3
3333126Aug 23STLSDPW,6-29-GF21.011100102.2341791004110000004000000.100.006-0.49-0.350.009t — 0 out a59t end a 4
3434129Aug 26STLTBRW,6-48-821.000000002.173861103010000003000000.390.0290.512.253.008t — 0 out d28t 3 out d2
3535130Aug 27STLTBRL,2-38-901.100023012.097392165010001000040000002.330.1640.747.2013.008t 1– 2 out d19t 3 out tie
3636133Aug 31STL@SFGW,5-29-930.121100002.31316941032000000032000001.05-0.032-1.18-2.45-2.009b — 0 out a49b -2- 1 out a3
3737136Sep 3STL@SFGW,7-39-GF21.010003002.25414115310000000004100000.230.0180.509b — 0 out a49b end a 4

Showing great control and- like Lyons- appearing in late innings, Brebbia should get a serious look at closing. Brebbia’s strikeout counts also show an adroitness for coming in and sending batters back to the dugout.

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The numbers support either of these arms being considered to close, but if Manifesto continues to perform as he has as manager, the likelihood of actually seeing either as the “closer” is slim-to-none. In my opinion, at least.

What would I do? I would use both of these names as a closer-by-committee based on the batters to be seen. I would install Lyons to close games when lefties were coming to the plate and install Brebbia when righties were coming. That, and/or let Lyons close one day and Brebbia close the other.

All that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the St. Louis Cardinals audition Ryan Sherriff from time to time or give Sam Tuivailala a few shots to close should the season seem finished and postseason seem out of reach.

Next: Comparing Grichuk and Schwarber

Again, Matheny is probably unlikely to make these moves (1), and (2) the St. Louis Cardinals need to be winning in order to need a closer. While they have been winning of late, whether this continues or not might decide the actual need for a closer.