Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles broke his non-pitching hand while covering the plate on a wild pitch in the first inning last night … and then the 23-year-old remained in the game to throw another three innings against the Diamondbacks.
Lyles was clearly in a lot of pain, but the training staff came out to examine him and let him remain in the game. Afterward he told Cody Uhm of MLB.com:
I knew something was wrong. I’ve never felt that feeling before. I didn’t want to come out during the first and make the bullpen throw nine. There was something wrong. I couldn’t catch the ball from the catcher.
Instead he stayed in the game long enough to allow four runs in what turned out to be a blowout loss at Coors Field. And now he’s headed to the disabled list, which is a shame because Lyles has pitched well this season with a 3.52 ERA and 49/26 K/BB ratio in 69 innings spread over 12 starts for the Rockies after being acquired from the Astros for Dexter Fowler this offseason.
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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.