There’s no question Bud Norris is the ace of the Astros’ staff. He’s the one that manager Bo Porter counts on and the one that the younger pitchers on the team seek out for advice on pitching.
At 3-1, with a 3.48 ERA, Jordan Lyles is starting to show signs that he too has the makings of a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
The 22-year-old Lyles is coming off a seven-inning scoreless outing on Wednesday at Seattle. In his last six starts Lyles is 2-0. His 1.67 ERA in that span from May 17 is the third lowest in the American League just behind the A’s Bartolo Colon (0.75) and the White Sox’s Chris Sale (1.55), who the Astros beat 2-1 on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
“I think Jordan Lyles has definitely come into his own,” said Porter. “In his last five starts he’s gaining more and more confidence every time he goes out there.”
That wasn’t always the case with Lyles. The right-hander struggled in spring training and began the season at Triple A Oklahoma City. After Lyles was recalled from Oklahoma City on May 2, he’s had only one poor outing in nine starts with the Astros.
“I made it a point of wanting to build up confidence, quality start after quality start,” said Porter. “I told him a couple of times I may have taken him out of a game a little early. I told him there was going to be a time where I’m going to ride you a little more.
“And we’ve started to ride him a little more, and he’s responded. It’s been outstanding.”
Lyles was the Astros' No. 1 prospect heading into the 2011 season. His 40 starts for the Astros before age 22 is the second most in franchise history behind Larry Dierker (94).