Lyles' quality start not enough vs. Mariners

Right-hander matches season high with 8 K's, shows improved command

May 29th, 2021

Rangers starter earned a quality start on Friday night at T-Mobile Park, but manager Chris Woodward said the right-hander got a bit “unlucky” as he took the loss when the Rangers fell 3-2 to the Mariners.

Lyles gave up all three Mariners runs on six hits, but was in command for most of the outing, dominating with his curveball and slider and inducing 11 swings-and-misses. He also struck out eight, which matches a season high set in his first start of the season on April 4 at Kansas City.

In his last five starts, Lyles has lowered his ERA from 7.09 to 5.79. Woodward said Lyles has been a lot more consistent in his last few starts and is commanding the zone with conviction.

“He's got a lot of confidence in his pitches right now,” Woodward said. “The good thing is, he's finishing games off. That was something I was really keeping a close eye on. He was really strong at the end there. He punched out the last couple guys [he faced] and his stuff looked really sharp, even late in the game, which we hadn't really seen. It’s a good sign.”

Lyles has given up a homer in all but two of his starts this season -- including a two-run shot from Seattle’s Kyle Lewis on Friday -- but he notched his third straight start of six innings..

Lyles said he felt like he was confident in the 1-1 curveball down in the zone to Lewis, but he just put a good swing on the pitch and was able to drive it over the right-field wall.

“There's nothing else that needs to be said and you just tip your cap to the other player for putting a good swing on it,” Lyles said. “He’s a good player in his own right, he did a really good job with that curveball.”

Texas' offensive struggles continued as it scored one run in the fourth inning and one in the fifth, which were the first runs it scored since the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s loss to the Angels.

The Rangers have prided themselves on being aggressive on the basepaths this season, but on Friday it didn’t work in their favor.

The Rangers led off the fifth inning with three straight hits from Charlie Culberson, Jose Trevino and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Culberson scored from second on Kiner-Falefa’s single, but Trevino got caught in a run-down between second and third before being thrown out.

Woodward said that while Trevino’s thinking was aggressive, it was a mistake in the situation.

“We got three hits in a row and somehow ended up with an out,” Woodward said. “Now the runner is on first base with one out instead of maintaining that pressure on [Mariners starter Justus Sheffield]. We're not trying to trade an out for a run right there. If it’s first and second, nobody out in that situation, we're in good shape, but to give them an out right there gave them a little bit of momentum.”

After Nick Solak reached base on a fielder’s choice, he stole second on a ball in the dirt. But after a replay review, the call was overturned, ending the inning and a potential rally for Texas. Woodward said he’ll always pat a player on the back for trying to take an extra base on a ball in the dirt, trusting the player’s judgment on most of the calls.

“It always looks like when you lose a game by one, or if we win the game by one, you can look back and if he's safe on that, that's the best defining play,” Woodward said. “It was honestly just a good play by [Mariners catcher Tom] Murphy to kind of get up and throw him out.”