The Milwaukee Brewers have needed better results from their starting pitchers for a while. Jordan Lyles stepped up on Friday night, but…how?
The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Arizona Diamonbacks 6-1 on Friday evening, but the real story was the outing by starter Jordan Lyles. In his six innings on Friday, Lyles allowed zero hits, only gave up two walks, and struck out five. Lyles last started on August 17th and allowed five runs in four innings. How did he manage to turn it around so quickly?
Did the D-Backs use a ‘tank’ lineup?
Not really. The D-Backs don’t have the strongest roster, but nothing about the lineup said ‘tank’. However, Lyles does have more success against righties than lefties. The D-Backs did stack the deck against him with five lefties or switch-hitters in the lineup.
So, how did Lyles succeed?
Lyles used his fastball to set up his curve, and stayed away from his slider completely when facing a lefty. Based on the data from BrooksBaseball.net, he worked more up and down than in and out when facing a lefty, and that was especially effective on Friday night.
Four of his five strikeouts came against lefties with three of those coming on the fastball. His heater was working on Friday night. It’s odd that he was able to succeed and only throw his change up five times to left-handers, but he went with what was working.
How about the batted ball numbers?
Lyles managed eight fly ball outs, and only three ground ball outs. The balls in the air were able to stay in the park, and, more importantly find gloves. Lyles does profile as a fly ball pitcher, and he is known to give up the occasional gopher ball. He managed to avoid that on Friday, and post the kind of results that the Milwaukee Brewers have been searching for.
Why didn’t Lyles go nine innings
Lyles needed 99 pitches to complete six innings. He probably could have come out for the seventh, but he had a successful outing in his back pocket, and there was no reason to risk blowing it by sending Lyles out there for one more. He probably would have need 140-to-150 pitches to finish the game, and there’s no way that teams in 2019 will allow a starter to throw that much in one game.
The Milwaukee Brewers handed the game over to the bullpen, and the combination of Devin Williams, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jay Jackson were able to finish the game with only one unearned run allowed. Lyles, and the team, got another win, and that’s all that matters at this point in the season.