Jordan Lyles expected to start the season in Triple-A before entering the starting rotation as simply a stopgap for the Colorado Rockies.
The right-hander looks to continue his surprising solid start Friday night as Colorado visits the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a three-game set.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss anticipated sending Lyles to the minors after spring training, but an injury to Tyler Chatwood gave Lyles an opportunity he hasn’t wasted.
Lyles (3-0, 3.04 ERA) is coming off his best outing after giving up an unearned run and five hits in seven innings of a 3-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday. He’ll be seeking to win a career-best fourth straight decision, and Weiss has been impressed with how Lyles has seized his opportunity.
"He’s really given us a lift in that rotation," Weiss said. "He’s a mentally tough kid. He competes. He goes after hitters. He’s been great."
Lyles was far from great in his only career start against the Dodgers, though, as he gave up seven runs and seven hits – including three homers – while walking three in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-0 loss Aug. 14, 2011, while pitching for Houston as a rookie.
He’ll look to help Colorado (12-11) rebound from Wednesday’s 12-10, 11-inning loss to San Francisco, during which it blew an early four-run lead. The Rockies had won six of their previous eight.
"We won another series, that’s the way we’ve got to look at it," Weiss said. "We are a team with confidence. The energy in the dugout is good, even when we’re down … guys feeling like we could put something together and win a game."
Offense hasn’t been a problem for Colorado, which leads the majors with 126 runs and a .301 average. Charlie Blackmon is hitting .410 and has all five of his homers over the last three games after hitting a solo shot and scoring four runs in the series finale with the Giants.
Troy Tulowitzki is 11 for 20 over his last six with homers in back-to-back games, and Nolan Arenado is hitting .345 during a 14-game hitting streak.
Josh Beckett will be tasked with trying to cool down the Rockies’ lineup as he takes the mound for the Dodgers (13-10).
Though Beckett (0-0, 2.57) is yet to pick up a victory, he’s been solid in each of his last two starts. He allowed two hits and struck out four in five scoreless innings of Los Angeles’ 3-2, 12-inning loss April 15, then gave up just one hit and struck out seven in five scoreless frames of the Dodgers’ 4-1 victory over Arizona on Sunday.
"I felt like I’ve done a decent job in my last couple of outings, but I think there’s still room for improvement," Beckett said.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.60 ERA in three starts against the Rockies since being acquired by the Dodgers, pitching less than six innings twice.
Beckett will look to help Los Angeles avoid a fourth loss in five games after it fell 7-3 to Philadelphia on Thursday. Former Rockie Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer, and Adrian Gonzalez went 3 for 5 with a solo shot.
Uribe, who busted out of a 1-for-15 slump, hit .373 in 18 games against his former team last season.