Right-hander Jordan Lyles is scheduled to make his first start for the Milwaukee Brewers when the National League Central contenders visit the Oakland Athletics for a second consecutive night Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Lyles (5-7, 5.36 ERA) was acquired by the Brewers on Monday just hours before he was supposed to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati.
He has arrived in California in time to step in for Gio Gonzalez, who had to be scratched Wednesday because of tightness in his left shoulder.
By pitching on the final day of the month, Lyles gets a chance to avoid a distinction of which he'd surely want no part. He's allowed a .444 batting average in four July starts.
The last time a pitcher made four or more starts in July and allowed a .444 or higher average was 30 years ago, when Charlie Leibrandt served up a .474 average in 1989.
It's happened just four times in baseball history.
"Look, he's had some success this year," Brewers manager Craig Counsell explained of the acquisition. "His last couple of starts have not been good. There are a couple of things that we see. Other than that, it's just going to be, 'Go out and make pitches.' We need guys right now."
Lyles made 17 starts for the Pirates and, as Counsell indicated, some were outstanding. He was great in March/April, going 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA and .228 average allowed, and even better in May in terms of average allowed (.194) while going 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA.
But since then, he went 0-2 in June with a 6.00 ERA and .290 average allowed, and now 0-3 with a 15.00 ERA in four July starts.
Lyles has pitched well in two previous starts against the A's, going 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA. He threw seven innings of five-hit ball in his only previous outing at Oakland, a 5-4 Houston Astros win in 2013.
Six years later, Lyles will be facing an A's lineup that was held to seven hits over 10 innings by Brewers pitchers in the series opener Tuesday. Unfortunately for the visitors, two of those hits were home runs, including a walk-off blast by Matt Olson in the 10th inning.
The A's used six pitchers, including recently acquired left-hander Jake Diekman, to limit the Brewers to two runs and set the stage for Olson's heroics.
Diekman gushed before the game about the thrill of joining a contender, then went out and aided in the narrow win with a shutout inning.
"I know how good this team is," he assured reporters. "Just coming into an environment where you're in the hunt and every day matters is super-exciting."
A's lefty Brett Anderson (9-6, 4.05) will be seeking his first win in four outings when he gets Wednesday's start. He's gone 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in his last three games.
Anderson has faced the Brewers three times in his career, but never for the A's. He started against them in 2015 for the Los Angeles Dodgers and twice in 2017 for the Chicago Cubs, accumulating a 0-1 record and 5.51 ERA.
--Field Level Media
Lyles makes first start with Brewers since trade