Jordan Lyles began the game on the mound, keeping opposing batters quiet for the first couple of innings. Lyles, 22, has the demeanor of a seasoned veteran. Always in control of his emotions, he is the antithesis of Lucas Harrell. An observer would never know if he was panicking or not; only his command would tell.
His command did not waiver. Lyles is the kind of pitcher who can maintain a mid-90s fastball throughout the duration of his outing and has a viable repertoire to back up his heat. On Wednesday night, he went 6.1 innings. Immediately following a hard-won strikeout, the wise Bo Porter decided to signal to the bullpen, shutting the door on Lyles’ night.
Lyles seemed as surprised as many fans, especially those who don’t subscribe to the concept that a left-hander needs to pitch to a left-handed batter because the odds are in the pitcher’s favor. It’s tough for Porter to justify his move when Wesley Wright steps to the mound in replacement and does, well, what Wright does.
Lyles could only look out from under a towel as Wright’s third pitch, a fastball inside, was smashed high and deep over the right field wall, a two-run home run that was the go-ahead run for the Cardinals in the seventh inning. The run stood as the difference in the game, as it ended 5-4, and Wright lasted just two batters, neither of whom he struck out. He was brought in to keep the ball away from the lefties; he served Matt Carpenter something he really couldn’t refuse.
Porter simply cannot stand behind decisions like this. The Astros have the worst bullpen in the league; perhaps giving them as little exposure as is humanly possible might have some merit. They should wear out their starters. If they’re having a solid game, don’t interrupt it. Run them for eight innings and 120 pitches. At this point, anything’s worth a shot.