Lyles as a September callup? I vote no.
General manager Ed Wade does not anticipate calling up very many players once rosters expand on Sept. 1, and while he has a general idea of whom he might have in mind for promotions, I sincerely hope he does not summon Jordan Lyles.
Don’t get me wrong — I believe Lyles is the real deal and could be a long-term fixture at the top of this rotation. But by the time the Triple-A season is over he’ll have thrown somewhere in neighborhood of 160 innings, and for a 19-year-old kid in just his third professional season (and his second full one), that is more than enough.
I like what the Astros have been doing lately and the influx of young players has sparked an optimism among fans and the front office not felt in about two years. But bringing Lyles to the big leagues is not necessary, and it is not in the best interests of the player or the organization.
When it comes to prized arms, especially those belonging to pitchers not yet 21 years old, I’d rather be overly cautious than risk a needless injury. Lyles is still developing physically and I’d rather see him finish out the season in Round Rock, rest his arm over the winter and attend big league Spring Training camp next year.
If the Astros wanted to bring him up in September just to give him some exposure to the big leagues so he’s not so overwhelmed when his time does come, I have no problem with that. I don’t think it’s necessary, but being in this environment for a few weeks can’t hurt. Pitching him too much, however, can, and it’s my hope the club errs on the side of caution and just says no.
I left tickets for some friends on Friday for the Astros-Mets opener at Citi Field and heard some interesting feedback after the game that I wasn’t expecting. These particular friends are die-hard Yankees fans, complete with the season tickets, the dog named “Jeets” and the desire to name their first, second and eighth born kids after Paul O’Neill. But being baseball fans in general, they also wanted to check out the Mets’ new ballpark. Off they went on the 7 train to Flushing, mentioning more than once that they hoped their deceased relatives weren’t watching for fear they might do that whole rolling over in their graves thing.
And you know what? After the game, they said they liked Citi Field more than Yankee Stadium. Citi Field felt like a ballpark, whereas when they go to Yankee Stadium, they feel like they’re being swallowed by a bunch of corporate hoo-ha.
At Citi Field, the atmosphere is cozy, the concourses are comfortable and the beer is $2 cheaper than at Yankee Stadium. Of course, it helped that their seats were really close to the field and that one of my friends was only about 15 feet away from Jeff Bagwell, his man-crush of 14 years. But for the most part, they appreciated Citi Field being simply a more comfortable, laid-back place to watch a ballgame.
I saw perfection when I visited Yankee Stadium for the first time, whereas at Citi Field, the primary emotion is confusion (it’s easy to get turned around here). My friends’ observations are a nice reminder that baseball fans really do like coming to a ballpark simply to watch a game. Sometimes, less is more.
Random images from a weekend at Citi Field:
You can always count on Chris Johnson to have some kind of reaction to the camera pointing at him..
Think ballplayers aren’t superstitious? After wearing these sunglasses while sitting at his locker one day, the Astros won. So now, wearing sunglasses inside (and out) is a pretty regular pregame routine.
Hunter Pence takes a water break before heading back onto the field during batting practice.
The view of Citi Field from the press box.