Jordan Lyles isn't blessed with overpowering stuff. It's doubtful that anyone will ever call the Houston Astros' rookie pitcher/savior nasty or wicked. Lyles' repertoire is based on control, in putting a baseball right where he wants it.
But when that type of pitcher doesn't have command? Well, there's no room to hide.
That's what Lyles and all the Astros fans depending on the 20-year-old to deliver hope found out Sunday. Lyles didn't have his control in San Diego and that left him without a chance.
Lyles couldn't come close to matching his buzz-building first start in start No. 2. Instead, he lasted only four innings, giving up four earned runs, struggling through 96 pitches. Lyles only walked one batter, but he hit two more Padres and had consistent trouble putting the ball in the spots he focused on.
In short, Lyles was anything but Greg Maddux like. And Lyles needs to be Maddux-like or Maddux-lite to succeed.
About the only good news for the youngest player in the Major Leagues is that no one who wasn't in PETCO Park saw him struggle. This was one of the rare MLB games not on TV anywhere due to the fact it was played close to ESPN's exclusive Sunday Night Baseball window.
Astros fans will get their first live look a Lyles Saturday night in a Minute Maid Park start against the Atlanta Braves, a team with a much more potent lineup than San Diego's. Of course, the lineup doesn't matter as much to Lyles as his control.