With All-Star, Brandon Woodruff, down for the count, Gio Gonzalez on and off the IR list, and Zach Davies struggling to have any sort of success, the Brewers needed to acquire a pitcher at the trade deadline. They got their guy when they traded minor league reliever, Cody Ponce, for Pittsburgh’s, Jordan Lyles. Many Brewer fans, including me, most likely had the thought…“Really Brewers? This is the best help we could get? Laboring starter, Jordan Lyles?”
When the Brewers acquired Lyles at the end of July, he was struggling mightily for the Pirates. From May 23rd through July 24th, he started 9 games for Pittsburgh and the Pirates were 1-8 in those games. Lyles threw 36.2 innings and had an ERA of 9.57. This was largely because hitters were batting .341 off him with an OPS of 1.108. Jordan Lyles was subjectively, the worst starting pitcher in all of baseball.
Oddly enough, the Brewers still traded for Lyles and thought he could be a positive contributor to the rotation. Well, since July 31st, Jordan Lyles has been nothing short of spectacular as a Brewer starting pitcher. During this span, he has started 8 games in which Milwaukee is 7-1 in those games. He has thrown 43.0 innings and has a 2.51 ERA with 37 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting an unimpressive .201 against the big righty. Without Jordan Lyles, the Brewers wouldn’t even be in the conversation of making the playoffs.
So the question is, why is Jordan Lyles finding so much success with the Brewers? The answer is simple. Throughout his career, Lyles has been and is a very streaky pitcher who relies on rhythm and confidence to get going on the mound. He’s the perfect example of how a career 5.15 ERA guy can stay in the league for 9 years. It’s because Lyles is the type of pitcher who can get hot and when he’s hot, he can dominate. His highs are high and his lows are low, but for some teams like the Brewers, he’s worth the risk. Who knows when his luck will run out but I’ll definitely be along for the ride and captain of the Jordan Lyles hype train.