KANSAS CITY – Pitchers like Jordan Lyles are a dying breed.
Organizations are more cognizant of pitch counts than ever, and inning-eaters like the 31-year-old Lyles are increasingly hard to find.
But manager Brandon Hyde isn’t eager to assist in their extinction.
“I love the fact that he does not want to come out of the game,” Hyde said while speaking to the media in Kauffman Stadium’s away dugout. “I love the fact that he feels like it’s his game. He wants to win it or lose it."
Lyles’ throwback style is more pronounced on the Orioles’ largely inexperienced starting staff, as young hurlers like Tyler Wells, Kyle Bradish and Bruce Zimmermann are still learning how to go deeper into games.
After an abbreviated regular season in 2020 and a shortened spring training in 2022, teams have taken an understandably cautious approach to their starting pitchers.
Which is what makes a reliable presence like Lyles all the more important.
“It’s been him and four guys with not a ton of experience, and he’s been a great role model for those guys,” said Hyde. “I love that they’re seeing somebody that’s competitive, what a real starter looks like and that they’re in it to go as long as they can in the game."
Lyles tossed 117 pitches in a May 23 start at Yankee Stadium. His last two starts have been shorter: 93 pitches at Fenway Park on May 28 and 83 pitches against the Mariners on June 2.
“When you start getting good, you’ve got a lot of those kind of guys and it’s more of the veteran starters around the league that kinda have that mentality and I think the game’s going to start going that way," said Hyde. "But I love the way that Jordan doesn’t put a pitch count limit on himself. He’s going to try to go out there and win the game and last as long as he can.”
Hyde is hoping a few extra days of rest will allow the righty to go deeper tonight against the Royals.
“We had two extra days (of rest) this time. His workload was pretty heavy. … But Jordan is a big-time competitor and I’d expect him to go as long as possible tonight,” Hyde said.
As for who will relieve Lyles tonight, don’t expect newcomer Austin Voth, who was claimed off waivers from the Nationals on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to rush him in there in a tough situation, so I’d expect him to be fully available to pitch a couple innings tomorrow,” Hyde said of the 29-year-old Voth.
Adley Rutschman won’t be catching Lyles tonight. In fact, he’s out of the lineup entirely, a decision Hyde told Roch Kubatko was made before the O’s were rained out last night against the Cubs.
Rutschman snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a bloop single in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s win at Camden Yards.
“Hopefully that can get him going a little bit,” said Hyde. “He’s swinging the bat fine. He’s doing great behind the plate. He’s hitting a bunch of balls hard. The hits are going to fall. It was nice to see one fall the other night, so I’m not worried about him.”
Robinson Chirinos is behind the dish tonight for the Orioles with Trey Mancini serving as the designated hitter.