Tyler Lyons will take Joe Kelly’s rotation spot

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The Cardinals have decided on a fill-in for starting pitcher Joe Kelly, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday afternoon with a strained left hamstring that he suffered Wednesday at Miller Park in Milwaukee while trying to beat out a groundball.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it’ll be 26-year-old left-hander Tyler Lyons, and he will make his first start Monday evening in the Cards’ series-opener versus the Mets at Citi Field.

Lyons will likely remain in the St. Louis rotation for two turns, assuming Kelly’s hamstring strain isn’t too severe. Carlos Martinez — who nearly won the fifth starter spot over Kelly this spring — will remain in a setup role for now.

Lyons threw seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday for Triple-A Memphis. He had a 4.75 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, and 43/16 K/BB ratio in 53 innings last season as an emergency starter and long reliever for the Cardinals.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.