The Colorado Rockies, regardless of where they end up over the course of this long season, pulled out one of their best wins of the year when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 on Friday night in Dodgers stadium.
They won the game with outstanding efforts across the board, making it a truly well-rounded victory. There was outstanding defense, clutch hitting, and great pitching. As far as the pitching side of things goes, some serious credit goes to Jordan Lyles.
Acquired along with Brandon Barnes in the unpopular trade that sent Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros, all the 24-year-old Lyles has done is go 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts. His recipe for success, among other things, has been an increase in his ground ball rate. But what I would like to focus on here is the job he did to escape a dicey situation in the 6th inning of Friday night’s win, a moment in which he showed a combination of poise and quality pitches that was a lot of fun to watch.
The anatomy of an escape, by Jordan Lyles
Scenario: with things tied up at 2-2 and opportunities to score runs few and far between, the Dodgers looked to have a golden opportunity when Hanley Ramirez led off the inning with a double. That put an RBI out there with three proven hitters, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford, due up next.
Step #1 – strike out Adrian Gonzalez
For somebody who has thrived by pitching to contact this season, Lyles showed the awareness of a guy who knew the situation. He reached for a little something extra for a swing-and-miss pitch, got some help from Gonzalez when he chased the pitch, and managed to record the first out without allowing Ramirez to advance to third base. He actually missed his spot by a significant margin, but the pitch had enough late life that I am still notching it up as a positive.
Step #2 – saw off Matt Kemp
We mean the figure of speech, of course, and nothing darker or more violent. This out was all about Lyle’s two-seam fastball. He got in on Kemp’s hands twice with it because of some nice late movement, setting up this weak flare that winning baseball player DJ LeMahieu ran down for out number two.
Step #3 – A nice easy ground ball from Carl Crawford
Hit your spot, have some nice sinking action, and get the nice ground ball to Troy Tulowitzki to end the threat.
This game was decided well after the end of the night for Lyles so he was not eligible for the win, but you better believe he is at the top of the list of the most valuable Rockies in this key early victory.